Very little impresses Phil Mickelson when it comes to scrambling. When you're the king of the flop shot and getting up-and-down from almost every conceivable spot, watching a fellow competitor grind his way around the course likely isn't that impressive.
But on Friday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, there's a good chance even "Phil the Thrill" would've been patting Rory McIlroy on the back and congratulating him for what had to be the top scrambling performance of the 23-year-old's young career.
How impressive was McIlroy's round? The two-time major winner hit just four fairways and 11 greens on the day and still managed to fire a salty 6-under 65 that currently has him three shots back of leader Seung-Yul Noh's lead.
Despite a driver that was non-existent for much of the day, McIlroy rode a red-hot putter for the entire round, recording only 24 putts (1.455 putts per GIR) en route to a seriously impressive opening round.
McIlroy had a number of incredible recovery shots during his round, but the one he pulled off on the ninth hole definitely topped the list. Sitting just off the fairway in some gnarly grass, McIlroy hacked at the ball, making an abbreviated follow-through that allowed the ball to come out low, hit the green and then trickle to within a foot of the pin.
Sure, the shot may look easy, but when you have two eight-shot major championship wins in your back pocket, even difficult recovery shots such as this look like a flip wedge from the fairway.