HUMBLE, Texas – It took four days, but Phil Mickelson finally figured out how to avoid trouble at the Houston Open.
Mickelson made two double bogeys and two triple bogeys over his first three rounds at the Golf Club of Houston, ending any chance he had to win despite racking up birdies by the handful. But he closed the week on a high note, shooting a bogey-free 67 to finish the tournament at 10 under but outside the top 20.
“The first three rounds were a bit of an anomaly to how the year’s been going, yet it’s very consistent with the way my career’s always gone,” Mickelson said. “So to have a round like today I think gives me a little bit more momentum and confidence in the ball-striking, knowing that it’s never too far off.”
Mickelson struggled tee-to-green for much of the week, relying on a steady short game and leaning on swing coach Andrew Getson for advice in between rounds on how to get things back on track with the Masters fast approaching. Those tips appeared to sink in during his final trip around the Golf Club of Houston, where Mickelson hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation.
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Mickelson made 21 birdies and only one bogey across his four rounds in Houston, but because of his miscues earlier in the week he finished his final round as the tournament leaders were beginning theirs. Having ended his lengthy victory drought last month and now set to return to Augusta National for a shot at a fourth green jacket, Mickelson didn’t get everything he wanted out of his final preparations but still feels confident heading into what he described as his favorite tournament of the year.
“I feel that if you’re playing well enough to win, your game is sharp and ready. Two of my five majors I won the week before, so I would have liked that,” Mickelson said. “But this gives me a chance to again focus on the areas that cost me this week, and I’ll try to get those ready for next week.”