WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — It was a case of too little, too late, but Phil Mickelson fired a 6-under-par 64 to finish tied for 20th.
At 6 under for the tournament, it was the 307th top-25 finish of his Hall of Fame career, out of 564 starts.
He suffered a bogey for the par-3 15th, but racked up seven birdies on the day. He had 10 one-putts, hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation and even hit 10 of 14 fairways. He entered the day hitting just 26 of 42.
His approaches were generally better this week than in the three Classics in which he missed the cut. His average proximity to the hole was a very respectable 31 feet.
He finished the day by sticking his shot on the par-3 18th, which was playing 161 yards, to 4 feet.
“I came in here early, went to the [Greenbrier] Sporting Club and spent time getting my distance control dialed in with each iron,” Mickelson said. “Took meticulous notes this week and I believe the next time I play here I’ll have a much better performance because of my iron play.”
Bubba Watson, on the other hand, had a brutal weekend, shooting 75 on Saturday and 72 on Sunday. A double bogey on the par-3 eighth and just one birdie on the back nine ruined his day.
He refused to blame the extra demands as a Tour ambassador for The Greenbrier, which honored his wife and him for their flood relief efforts.
“I want to help. I try to help anywhere I can,” Watson said. “You know, and you’ve got to remember, these golf tournaments are all charity events. Even though we’re playing for lots of money, there’s a lot of money getting passed out to help the community.”
Update your spellchecks
Schauffele’s name is hard to type, and not easy to pronounce. For the latter, use two syllables: SHOFF-lee.
It’s often mispronounced. It’s often misspelled — even on tournament leaderboards.
“That would go 50-50,” he said. “It’s butchered every which way, so since kindergarten I’m used to it.”
Daniel Obremski has had quite the last week and a half.
The Irwin, Pennsylvania, resident first had to negotiate the pre-qualifier June 28 at the Cobb Course at Glade Springs. He finished 20th with a 1-over-par 72, advancing to the open qualifier last Monday. Then he shot a 70 and won a six-for-one playoff for the fourth and final spot in the Classic.
Then he opened with a 69 and a 70 to make the cut on the number. After he shot a 71, he earned the chance to play 18 holes with Mickelson, who also started the day at even par.
Obremski got to see “Lefty” at his best, shooting a 64. But Obremski didn’t fare quite as well, shooting a 71 to finish tied for 64th.
Still, he earned a check for $14,839, not a bad sum for someone on the Adams Golf Tour. The two runners-up in the last event on that circuit earned $11,650.
Not Love-ing it
The dream of Davis Love III becoming the oldest PGA Tour winner was dashed early, as he started bogey-bogey. He failed to make a birdie and finished with a 75, dropping him to a tie for 29th.
The 53-year-old Love, who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in September, hit only 11 greens in regulation and needed 32 putts.
“Hit it solid, but I just missed a bunch of fairways and then didn’t make any putts,” he said. “So it was disappointing, but felt good all week, so that’s a plus.”
n On a perfect summer day in the Greenbrier Valley, players had their best scoring of the week. The course average was 69.135, with 499 birdies and 406 bogeys.
For the week, the average was 69.083.
n Chilean Joaquin Niemann, the world’s top-ranked amateur, shot a 64 to finish at 5 under, tied for 29th. He became the Classic’s highest-finishing amateur, topping the 46th by Justin Thomas in 2012.
n Schauffele’s win marked the seventh time in seven Classics that the winner came from behind.
n Hole No. 13, a par-4, ranked as the most difficult hole of the tournament with a 4.225 average. The 12th, a par-5, was the easiest at 4.59.
n Two years ago, Watson was debuting the Ping G30 driver in the Classic. This year, he’s testing a G400, though he was still playing with a G.
n And finally, Smylie Kaufman finished with another 72-for-72 performance in avoiding three-putts. His Tour-leading streak is 276 holes.