May
15
2011
Phil’s Near Ace on 17 at TPC Sawgrass (VIDEO)
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Mickelson took rookies Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele for a practice round at TPC Sawgrass on Monday

Keegan Bradley was on 16 fairway when the horn blew, calling the players off TPC Sawgrass for what turned out to be a four-hour and twenty-seven minute rain delay. Teeing off at 9:35am for the third round of the Players Championship, the seventh starting time of the day, Keegan was one of the first groups to finish once play resumed at 5:30pm. Perhaps as a PGA Tour rookie he has yet to experience the heartbreaking trauma that many veterans have endured over the years.

When I asked him if it was a pain to go back and play those three tough finishing holes after such a long wait, a pleased Keegan said, “I played them one-under.” How was 17? Smiling, he said, “Someone’s going to make a hole-in-one on 17 today…because the pin is in the front and it’s soft, so the ball is spinning back at it.”

Phil Mickelson almost turned Keegan’s prediction into reality in the early evening. With just a wedge in hand, Phil almost flied his ball into the hole before it took a hope and then spun back to just miss dropping in the cup. Phil already had two arms raised because he knew it had a very good chance of going in. Now wouldn’t that have been something? Well, there’s a reason why we call him Phil the Thrill!

Phil had about a two-three footer for birdie, which he actually almost missed, but it slipped in the edge.

Well, Keegan did play a practice round with Phil on Monday, so he probably taught him how to tackle the 17th.

34 players, who are returning bright and early on Sunday morning to finish their rounds, haven’t taken their shots on the intimidating 17.

“The third-round isn’t over yet,” said Keegan. “There’s still a chance!”

And you should make a bet with Phil for the final round. Do it, Keegs! Phil will love it.

(Photo via Keegan Bradley’s Twitter)