Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 11/15/14

For the second consecutive week on the PGA Tour, a player that either missed the cut or didn’t finish in the top 50 in the previous tournament won the next tournament. One week ago, it was Tiger Woods that amazed everyone at the Farmers Insurance Open after missing the cut the previous week in Abu Dhabi. This week Phil Mickelson came out of nowhere to lap the field at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. How can Phil, of all players, come out of nowhere? Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Well, when you start 2013 by finishing T37 and T51 in your first two tournaments, nobody expects much of you in your next tournament. Especially when you shoot no rounds in the 60s in your previous tournament, which is what Phil did at the Farmers Insurance Open. Phil almost continued that same trend of no rounds in the 60s at the Phoenix Open, but this time he almost shot a round in the 50s instead of the 70s. Phil came out firing from the beginning, birdieing his first four holes in the first round. He closed out his front nine by birdieing the last three to shoot a 29. On the back nine, it was more of the same for Lefty. He birdied four of the first seven holes on his back nine. He was sitting at eleven-under going into #17. Since TPC Scottsdale is a par-71, all Phil needed to shoot was a 59 with one birdie and one par to finish his round. On hole 17, which was really #8 because Phil started on #10, Phil left his birdie putt inches short as he had to settle for a par. So, to shoot a 59 Lefty had to use some of his magic to birdie the par 4 ninth. He hit the green in regulation that set up a birdie putt for 59. The 20-footer hit the right edge of the cup, rolled around the cup, and never dropped to the bottom. He had to settle, if that even makes sense, with a first-round 60. Going into Friday, Phil had a pretty comfortable four-shot lead. He followed up his stellar first round with another stellar second round. He had another chance at history going into #18. If he parred #18, he would set the 36-hole record for a PGA Tournament. He hit his drive on #18 into the left-hand hazard, leaving him with a desperate shot at par. His approach ended short of the green, so he had a tough chip at the record. He chipped to seven feet from the hole and possibly let his frustration get to him as he missed the bogey putt. He still shot a second-round 65, leaving him at 17-under through two rounds. Phil again had a four-shot lead, but now there were only two rounds remaining. He let the field stay in the tournament as he only birdied three of the first fourteen holes. But, holes 15-18 were much different. He birdied 15 coming into the stadium-atmosphere par-3 sixteenth. The sixteenth has stands around the entire hole, creating an atmosphere that is nowhere else on tour. Phil stepped right up and hit the shot of the tournament as he knocked a 9-iron to a foot from the hole. If Phil wasn’t already the fan favorite, which he was, he was surely it now. He tapped in for birdie, then birdied 17 and 18 to finish with four straight birdies to shoot a seven-under 64. Along with the birdies came a growing lead that widened to six shots after the round. Six strokes ahead of the field for Phil is game over, right? Someone forgot to tell Brandt Snedeker that because he came out to win on Sunday. Brandt played in the final group with Phil, but never seemed fazed by the four-time major champion. Both parred the first, but Phil gave a stroke back as he bogeyed the second. Brandt built on that as he birdied the third. After three holes, Phil’s lead had dwindled to four strokes. Phil didn’t worry as he birdied the fourth to gain a stroke on the field. The sixth through the ninth was when Brandt began to make his move. He birdied three of those four holes as he inched to within three shots of Phil. Again, Phil wasn’t worried as he birdied the thirteenth to regain a four-shot lead. When both Phil and Brandt birdied the fifteenth, it was all but over. Lefty parred the sixteenth, birdied the seventeenth, and tapped in for par at the eighteenth to claim the Waste Management Phoenix Open for the third time in his career. This was also Phil’s 41st victory on the PGA Tour, which is ninth all-time. Two weeks. Two comebacks. Not during the tournament, but from the last week’s performance. Phil Mickelson, Arizona native and Arizona State graduate, fed off the crowd’s energy to dominate the Phoenix Open, winning by four strokes and finishing at 28-under. -O’Shea

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