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Phil Mickelson pulls off amazing flop shot to save par

Lefty missed the 11th green by 95 feet but unfurled a beautiful chip to keep his card clean.

EVEN PHIL MICKELSON was at a loss to explain how he somehow saved par after a disastrous tee shot on the par three 11th at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

‘Lefty’ was way off target [95 feet] with his iron approach to the green and looked set to hand back the one shot he had gained in his second round. The galleries around the green were pushed back and the safe option was a chip to the heart of the green and a long, long putt for par. Mickelson had other ideas.

The current Open champion opted to go aerial in a big way. He sent a flop shot soaring and got sufficient backspin to trace it back to within two feet of the hole. Check it out here:

YouTube credit: PGA TOUR

Mickelson tapped in for birdie but his tournament challenge was in danger of faltering as he dropped three shots over three holes on the back nine. The American showed some grit with brave approaches on 17 and 18 and was rewarded with birdies to finish on 71 and -8 overall. Sergio Garcia leads the way on -13 with Roberto Castro and Henrik Stenson a shot further back.

When he was asked, after his signed, about the flop shot on 11, Mickelson said, “I don’t know how to explain that shot.  It’s a hard one to hit.” He added:

The angle of attack and the face angle and the weight‑‑ all that stuff factored in to be able to come off right.  And it came off perfect.  It’s not a very high percentage shot.  I got lucky that it didn’t hit a tree and go in the hazard.  That ball was headed so far right.  And to even have a chance, and then pulled it off, it wasn’t an easy shot.”

Round of the day came from US Open champion Justin Rose, who recorded a 63 to lie four shots off Garcia. Graeme McDowell had a good day as he signed off for a 66 and a total of -4 for his opening two rounds. Rory McIlroy rated his chances of successfully defending his Deutsche Bank title at ‘eight or nine out of 10′ at the beginning of the week but is back at -1 and tied for 68th with Luke Donald and two others.

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Patrick McCarry

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