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How Pelz and Phil saved strokes at Sawgrass

But in the third round of the '07 Players, Mickelson never considered playing out to the fairway on 10, and he only half-listened as Bones recited yardages to the second-safest destination, the greenside bunker. Phil had perceived an opening high in the palms and pines, and he envisioned a flight path that would miss the trees, fade, clear the greenside bunker and grip the plateau green. He took his normal lusty swing with a seven-iron, and his ball rolled dead 30 feet, one inch from the hole. The crowd went nuts, and Lefty eventually tapped in for par. Phil and Bones had a good laugh.

"Sorry," Mickelson said to his caddie. "I simply didn't feel like telling you what I was going to do."

Now there's a bronze plaque in the bunker commemorating Phil's feat.

"I don't like risks like that," Pelz says. "He still only made par. I believe in taking a chance only when you can save a shot." The instructor pauses. "I haven't gotten him to play more conservatively."

Dave's Data: Sawgrass Trouble Spots in 2007
No. 1 Longest 30% of drives found fairway only 60% of time
No. 4 Only one in 12 players who missed fairway made birdie
No. 5 Average player lost two thirds of a stroke every time he missed fairway
No. 6 Twenty players three-putted green—highest total on front nine
No. 7 Ranked first in double bogeys or worse
No. 8 Highest in putts per hole
No. 12 Average score for drives in rough was almost a half-stroke higher than for drives in fairway
No. 14 Players had only a 5.4% chance of making birdie if they missed fairway
No. 17 Only one of six saved par from bunker
No. 18 Only 31.6% hit green in regulation

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