It was an terrific end to the Northern Trust Open, with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley making clutch birdies to get into a three way tie, then falling short on the second playoff hole to Bill Haas. Haas played some terrific golf down the stretch, showing the same kind of poise he displayed at the Tour Championship. It’s Haas’ third straight year with a PGA Tour win.
The best round of the day, however, probably belonged to Sergio Garcia, who shot a 64 to get into a T4. Truth be told, he wasn’t far from shaving those last two shots and getting into the playoff himself. I predict big things for Garcia this year—perhaps the long-anticipated Major.
The final hole of regulation was one of the most exciting scenes I’ve seen in golf in a while—so much so that the playoff was a let down. To that point, the eighteenth had given up just six birds on the day, and both Bradley and Mickelson needed one to tie Haas. Both their drives were good, but Mickelson’s approach rolled some twenty five feet away. Bradley had a side putt from twelve feet.
Putting first, Mickelson curled it in. The crowd went wild, with spectators in the background literally falling to the ground. Bradley offered Mickelson a bumped fist. Then Phil apparently told the younger man “Join me.”
That’s sportsmanship, and that’s just what Bradley did. His 12 footer just rolled in, setting off another round of crowd jubilation. At GolfBlogger World Headquarters, I was cheering too.
With all the young talent around these days, I’m sure we haven’t seen the end of such excitement. I’m also sure that we haven’t seen the last of either Keegan Bradley or Phil Mickelson this year. It’d be something to see Bradley validate last year’s PGA with another Major. And as always, I’m rooting for Mickelson. He won’t be in this week’s Match Play Championship, though, as it conflicts with a scheduled family vacation.