One day after shooting a tournament-best 7-under 64, Phil Mickelson complained that he went brain dead on the back nine at Quail Hollow Golf Club during the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte.
“I just wasn’t sharp,” he said.
Mickelson was cruising along at even for the day for his first 10 holes and 7 under for the tournament before coming home in 40 and shooting 4-over 75 to fall to 3-under 139.
After a bogey at 11, Mickelson hit the first of two water balls off the tee at No. 14 and experienced the first of (at least) three brain-dead moments.
Of the tee shot at the drivable par 4, Mickelson said, “I stepped in there, I was going to hit a draw, standing over it, I’m going to hit a fade and I just made an awful swing, lunged forward on it.”
His ball went left, but he salvaged par after taking a penalty and drop by wedging from 98 yards to 3 feet and holing the putt.
“I hit a great drive and I kind of went blank on the 2‑wood because I couldn’t quite get it there and I wasn’t sure what I was doing and I just kind of hit without realizing I was hitting and a purpose and a swing purpose,” he explained. “It’s just little things like that that I’ve been struggling with. Then I hooked it to the right and compounded it with a few bad wedges.”
To make matters worse, he steered his tee shot at the par-3 17th left and it found the water, leading to a double bogey.
“I think kind of an example of what I’ve been talking about is like on 17 we’re standing over the ball and I’m changing my mind and I’m changing the shot, moving the clubhead a little bit and it just ‑‑ instead of backing away and kind of refocusing, I just kind of hit it and I’m not really kind of aware of what I’m doing,” he said. “So, I’ve got to fix that and work on it.”
Mickelson hit half as many greens on Friday as the 14 he hit on Thursday in staking himself to the opening-round lead. He went from first in Strokes Gained: Tee to green, gaining nearly six strokes on the field, to No. 114 in the second round, losing nearly 2 ½ strokes in that category.
Mickelson shoots 64-75.Before everyone starts with "why is it so hard to follow a low score with another low score?" I say it again. The anomaly is the 64, not the inability to follow it up.
— Peter Kostis (@peterjkostis) May 7, 2021
To hear Mickelson tell it, he’s been going to great lengths to find a solution to his lack of focus, which he said happens with age, including meditation and changes to his diet.
“There’s just a lot of exercises, getting your eyes moving to kind of get your brain going,” he said. “There’s a lot of little things that I’m doing out there to try to stay focused.”
Mickelson has a fantastic track record at Quail Hollow, including a second, two thirds and 10 top-10 finishes in 16 previous starts. He’s only three strokes out of the lead heading into the weekend among the early wave of finishers.
The final question during Mickelson’s post-round chat with the media wondered if he had given any thought to playing the Senior PGA Championship in two weeks. Lefty said he hadn’t. His focus, however much he can gather, is solely on the here and now at Quail Hollow and the pursuit of his first victory on the PGA Tour since the 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
“I love the golf course, I’m playing well, and if I can stay focused this weekend, I’m going to have a good weekend,” he said.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/07/wells-fargo-championship-phil-mickelson-brain-dead/