On the way to his second title in as many weeks, Phil Mickelson took an all-too-familiar left-hand turn on the 72nd hole of the Nissan Open, pushing his drive into the left rough.
Riviera’s kikuya grass can kikillyou, and Lefty’s approach shot from a sidehill lie came up well short. The resulting bogey led to a playoff with Charles Howell III who made several clutch putts down the stretch to card a splendid 65.
Howell won on the third extra hole when Lefty failed to save par after his putt from the front fringe stopped six feet short.
The story line will be how Phil let another one slip away. Fair enough. I think Lefty will shrug it off and look ahead to the next tournament. No need for excessive hand wringing.
But don’t miss the other story line -- a breakout win for Charles Howell III, a guy oozing with talent. He didn’t back off on Sunday and executed under intense pressure. And that’s good for golf.
The Armchair Golfer