Chin up, Mickelson aims to finish the Open with a flourish
Despite being disappointed at his performance so far this week, Phil Mickelson wants to put together one completely solid round before he heads back to America. He was properly prepared, he said, but just didn’t execute the shots.
HOYLAKE, England (PA) -- World No. 2 Phil Mickelson is determined to sign off the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on Sunday with a good round after shooting progressively worse scores over the last three days.
The American carded a Saturday 73, to follow an opening day 69 and then a 71, to drop to 3-under 213 and fall out of contention for a second major of the year.
He had three successive bogeys from the seventh to turn in 38, and another dropped shot at the 14th was only offset by a birdie and an eagle in this last three holes. He hit a hybrid club from 245 yards to within three feet at the last to finish in style, and the two-time Masters champion hopes to continue that tomorrow.
"I just didn't do it today. I didn't play well enough to make birdies," he said. "You just have to make some putts out there because it is hard to get the ball five feet from the hole. You have to make some 15 to 30-footers and I just didn't do it.
"After I was 3-over after nine and realized the chance of winning was not there, I just wanted to play well, hit good shots and keep grinding to see if I could get into the tournament," he explained. "The last three holes were nice, finishing birdie-par-eagle, but not quite enough.
"I'm going to go out tomorrow and see if I can go low and put together one really good round of golf. I know I can do it out here," he added. "I've certainly studied the course, now I have to go and hit the shots -- more for self-gratification than because it will move me up the leader board."
Mickelson is famed for the amount of preparation he puts in ahead of the majors, and despite spending hours on the Hoylake course in the run-up to the Open, he did not feel that had been a waste.
"It is really not that frustrating. I enjoy working on the golf course and competing in the event," he said. "It is fun for me. It just didn't happen this week so far.
"To win you have to play well, obviously, but what I don't want to have happen is come in, play well, hit the shots the way I want to and have them turn out not the way I expected," he added. "It has been a great championship and it will be exciting. I wish I was part of the leaders but I'm not."
Mickelson had a good-humored exchange with a member of the crowd at the par-4 fourth after pulling his drive over the ropes and close to a cart path. The man felt Mickelson was unfairly claiming a free drop from the path but the American soon put him right.
"He thought it had to actually lie on the cart path. He thought the follow-through didn't count," said the Masters champion. "And then when he realized I did get a drop, he said it was two club lengths which it is not, it is relief plus one. I got a kick out of it and we had fun with it."
Copyright 2006 PA Sport. All rights reserved.