Phil Mickelson and Xander Sc Heatle perform for local fans on Friday at Torrey Pines – .

Phil Mickelson and Xander Sc Heatle perform for local fans on Friday at Torrey Pines – .

SAN DIEGO – Fans who stayed at Torrey Pines clung to the edges of the 18the fairway to catch a glimpse of Phil Mickelson and Xander Sc Chaudele, or as they are called along this part of the SoCal coast, Uncle Phil and X.

The USGA rarely misses an opportunity for creativity and with the return of the US Open to the southern course, officials opted for a Southern California theme from Mickelson, ScHotele and Max Homa of Burbank for rounds 1 and 2. With my apologies to Homa, it was the San Diego son who kept the partisan crowd going well after dinner.

As Mickelson and ScHotele made their way to the final green, the parallel was impossible to ignore as the 619’s past and present hit the putting surface.

For ScHotele, this is his fifth national championship and another opportunity to add to his CV at the US Open which already includes a tie for third, fifth (twice) and sixth. He was born in La Jolla, golfed from his high school in Torrey Pines, and was a star in San Diego State.

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“I was going down the first fairway today with my dad and we were joking that six or seven years ago when they announced this site here on TV my dad and I were sitting on the couch, and we were like, Hey we have to do everything we can to get into this tournament”ScHotele said earlier this week. “Here we are sitting here trying to win the thing. “

The fact that he covered the first two trips around the south course alongside Uncle Phil only added to the experience. Although the two became frequent training partners and Lefty even credited ScHotele after Mickelson’s PGA win, to keep him motivated, Scuffle, 27, could still enjoy the moment as the duo put the finishing touches on in their second round.

When ScHotele showed up at the Farmers Insurance Open as a junior, it was Lefty he wanted to see. ” Of course. He was a local hero here, right next to Tiger who grew up, so I got to see him a lot when I was younger, ”he said.

Mickelson: “I played very well” in the second round

ScHotele saw the best of Mickelson on Friday. He wasn’t perfect, but Lefty rarely is. Instead, it was a gritty performance to secure a spot on the weekend’s start sheet.

The fresh-out 51-year-old made the turn safely inside the cup but, as is normally the case with Lefty, there was nothing mundane about his finish. He stoked his tee shot at No. 11 to the left of everything – the green, the TV tower, even the crowd that was estimated at 10,000 a day (and it seemed like every 10K was watching Phil).


He missed the fairway at No.12 and hooked his approach well to the right of the green before rushing for par. At number 13 it was another rough approach and another clutch putt (4 feet). There was a 14 foot for the par at 15e hole and an 11 foot for par at 16e hole.

While his dying PGA Championship gave Mickelson a new competitive lease on life, know that he hasn’t blunted the sharp edges. He still only knows one way to play.

“I hit the ball really well and that made it a lot easier for me. I was able to play aggressively, ”he said.

While “aggressive” isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to your mind when playing US Open Word Pairing, know that Mickelson only has one speed.

Even in his eventful nine-hole closing, it’s not the missed shots he remembers as much as the missed opportunities. Where some see unnecessary stress, Lefty sees a chance to do something special.

He wasn’t trying to make the cut. He was trying to clash over the one event left on his to-do list.

“In the last few holes I tried to get close and be a little shorted a few times,” Mickelson said, as if there was another way to play the game. [No.] 15, trying to cut a 7 iron over there up to that pin. [No.] 16, trying to snag one and just went a long time. I gave myself some tough ups and downs and ended up making the putts, which felt good.

The crowd that lingered around the 18e green as sunset approached and the freezing cold of June set in, were treated to a spectacle. After finding a rare fairway off the tee, Mickelson’s second par-5 shot carried the water hazard less than two paces, setting up a 62-foot eagle putt. Never a dull moment with the Thrill.

Mickelson put in two last for a total of 2 under 69 and a total of 2 over. ScHotele tied the last for a 71 and a share of seventh place under 2.

The bold and homers applauded Uncle Phil and X with equal zeal – the past and present of 619.


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