Written by
Bryan Mullen
Oct 20 2023
HyFlyers Team Championship, Miami 2023 Quaterfinals

MIAMI – A tough start for captain Phil Mickelson of HyFlyers Golf Club put him in a tough position to battle back on Friday.

But his teammates were right there for him, and the team lived to fight another day.

HyFlyers GC defeated Smash Golf Club 2-1 during quarterfinal action at the Team Championship in Miami to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. Mickelson and Smash GC captain Brooks Koepka took center stage as their star-studded and major-laden match got underway, but in the end, it was Mickelson’s teammates who stole the show.

“I'm really proud of my team and the effort that our guys made down the stretch to win and to finish the matches off,” Mickelson said. “I've got a little work to do, a lot of work to do on my game overnight, but I've got a team that has really made this fun and special and they came through today.”

It won’t get any easier Saturday. During Friday night’s semifinals selection reveal, 4Aces Golf Club captain Dustin Johnson chose to face HyFlyers GC. Johnson’s team, the reigning team champion from 2022, finished the regular season as the No. 1 seed entering this week and had a bye on Friday.

“We're looking forward to playing the consistently best team in the league, and we're looking forward to the opportunity,” Mickelson said. “We know it'll be a challenge.”

The pairings for Saturday are intriguing. Per the rules, the captains will face each other, so the Johnson vs. Mickelson match will have plenty of attention from fans. Cameron Tringale (HyFlyers GC) will play against Patrick Reed (4Aces GC), and in team match play, the tandem of James Piot/Brendan Steele (HyFlyers GC) and Peter Uihlein/Pat Perez (4Aces GC) will compete.

As for how HyFlyers GC advanced Friday, it was one part grittiness and one part guile. After Koepka defeated Mickelson 6&4 on a breezy and sometimes overcast Trump National Doral, Mickelson stayed on the course to cheer on Tringale in his match against Smash GC’s Jason Kokrak. Mickelson was also keeping a close eye on Piot and Steele, who were facing Chase Koepka and Matthew Wolff of Smash GC in a team match play format.

Tringale struck first and showed tons of late moxie. He was 2-down with six holes to play but won four of the next five holes to win 2&1. The earned point tied Smash GC 1-1 at the time, and it proved to be a pivotal momentum swing.

Mickelson witnessed the positive vibes firsthand when he saw Piot and Steele march back in a must-win match. The Piot/Steele tandem rode a roller coaster round but finished in style, winning 1-up on the final hole, earning the final point and giving HyFlyers GC a 2-1 victory to advance.

“(Piot) hit so many great shots and we had so much fun, so much energy out there,” Steele said.

In his match, Mickelson faced the difficult challenge of battling back from being 3-down through four holes. But the Hall of Famer reset and was able to cut into the deficit to get to 1-down after six holes. It was then, however, when Koepka hit another gear. Koepka won four of the next five holes and cruised for the rest of the match to earn the victory. It would be Smash’s lone point of the day.