Mickelson aiming to turn promising performances into victory
Remarkably, the last time Phil Mickelson won a golf event was when he lifted the Claret Jug at Muirfield at The Open in 2013.
A brilliant final-round 66 saw the American beat future Champion Golfer Henrik Stenson by three shots that day but four-and-a-half years on, he is waiting to add to his illustrious win count. The five-time major winner – who has 48 professional victories to his name – has hit form in the past month and heads to the WGC-Mexico Championship full of confidence.
The 47-year-old finished tied-fifth at the Phoenix Open at the start of February, followed that up with a tied-second at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am a week later before a tied-sixth at the Genesis Open in his last tournament. This week’s WGC-Mexico Championship will be held at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Naucalpan but Mickelson triumphed at the event in 2009, under its former guise of the WGC-CA Championship at Doral Golf Resort & Spa and is feeling good about his golf.
“My game is on the upswing,” he said. “I’m playing well enough to compete week in and week out now, and now it’s just a matter of a shot here or there. That’s the difference between winning and not, as opposed to kind of finding my game. I’m not searching anymore.”
Champion Golfer on the up
Solid but unspectacular would be the best way to describe Jordan Spieth’s 2018 to date, with the Champion Golfer of the Year having recorded top-20 finishes in four of his five appearances, although none higher than ninth.
Spieth’s other tournament was a missed cut at the Phoenix Open but his putting – which has been troublesome this season – seemed to turn a corner in a big way at the Genesis Open last time out.
The 24-year-old American will therefore tee off in Naucalpan quietly confident of lifting a trophy for the first time this year.
Big hitters head south
Mickelson and Spieth are far from the only big names heading for Mexico this week as the likes of Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia are also scheduled to compete.
US PGA champion, Thomas, won The Honda Classic last weekend, world No.1 Johnson is the reigning champion at Chapultepec and Rose won the last WGC event in China last year – adding wins in Turkey and Indonesia since.
Fleetwood – who owns the course record at Carnoustie, is in sparkling form in 2018 and also finished as a runner-up in Naucalpan 12 months ago, while Masters champion Garcia is looking to build on his win in Singapore.
South Africa calling
While most of the sport’s biggest names make up the all-star cast at the WGC Championship-Mexico, the European Tour heads to South Africa and the Tshwane Open.
Contested at Pretoria Country Club, home golfer George Coetzee heads into the event as one of the hot favourites with a South African having come out on top in four of the five stagings of the Tshwane Open. Coetzee grew up playing Pretoria CC and won this event back in 2015 but will have to overcome the likes of in-form Marcus Kinhult and Haydn Porteous.