Phil Mickelson’s hard-fought, 1-under par score on Thursday at Bethpage Black in the first round of the 101st PGA Championship nearly came at a huge cost as the five-time major champion grabbed at his elbow after hacking a ball of the Long Island rough.
Playing his final hole of the day, Mickelson found the rough left of the 18th fairway and attempted to advance the ball up near the green when his club was grabbed by the grass.
“(My elbow) feels fine now,” Mickelson said after he was able to get up and down for par. “I kind of jarred it on the (rough), my right elbow. It feels fine now. Just jarred it out of the rough. That happens with stuff that thick, but hopefully it just goes away, which it kind of did.”
Even with the bum elbow, Mickelson was able to get up and down from the greenside bunker to save par on the closing hole and post a 1-under par round, six shots back of the first-round leader, Brooks Koepka.
“The first eight holes I let a few shots slide, and then the last ten I picked up quite a few shots. All in all, it was a good day,” Mickelson said. “I just wasn’t putting well the first eight holes, and Tim, my brother, noticed that I was kind up and out of it a little bit, so made a slight adjustment, and I made four really good putts on 9, 10, 11 and 12.”
Mickelson will have to do some chasing over the weekend to catch up with Koepka, but he feels the scores are out there and his game is in form to do so.
Going out tomorrow, I feel like I’m playing well,” he said. “I feel good about my game, and I feel like I’m playing well enough to shoot a low round out there. I feel like I can shoot something in the mid-60s, whether it’s tomorrow or the weekend. You know, I feel like I can do it.”