Phil Mickelson scrambled his way to success, until a couple of the closing holes, on Saturday. (Getty Images)
Disappointed Mickelson lets good round slip away from him
Phil Mickelson was on a roll Saturday, until he made two bad swings with his 5-iron. Despite his struggles, he still believes he's capable of a low round that could put him right in the mix.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Phil Mickelson’s frustrations at the British Open are well-documented.
Prior to this week, the man who has three Masters and one PGA Championship on his resume -- not to mention, five seconds at the U.S. Open -- had played in 16 British Opens and only once finished in the top 10. That came in 2004 when he finished one stroke out of the playoff between Todd Hamilton, the eventual champ, and Ernie Els.
On this blustery Saturday, though, Mickelson looked to finally be getting himself back into the thick of things as he played his first 15 holes in 4 under, which also marked where he stood for the tournament. Then the world No. 2 shot himself in the figurative foot – again -- with a double bogey at No. 16 and a bogey at the Road Hole.
Not even a birdie at the 18th could ease the pain.
"I’m disappointed in myself because I let a good round slide," Mickelson said. "I let a good opportunity to get back into the tournament somewhat to where a good round tomorrow could maybe get it done, and I let it go and I’m disappointed in myself.
"I’m frustrated with myself, not only today’s round, the first couple,” he added. “I love this tournament, and just am disappointed in myself for the way I’ve performed this week."
Mickelson said he missed a couple of putts he should have made early in the round. His putter got hot on the inward nine, though, but two bad swings with a 5-iron, the first of which sailed out of bounds at the 16th hole, proved extremely costly.
"I was trying to hit a low hook, and I hit it a little too quick," Mickelson said. "I’m frustrated, but today to me was just a great day on St. Andrews, because the wind was challenging but fair. The pins were challenging but fair. And there was some good scoring out there. There were some birdies out there, and also there’s some bogeys.
"I thought that this was a fun day to play this championship under these conditions."
Mickelson was hardly ready to concede defeat, though. He knows that a low round could be out there -- just ask Rory McIlroy, who tied the major championship mark with a first-round 63 -- so getting off to a good start at the Old Course on Sunday will be key.
"You never know what’s going to happen out here," Mickelson said. "You never know what the weather is going to do. I’m going to get off quite a bit before the leaders, and you go out and shoot 7, 8, 9 under par, do what Rory did, you just never know.
“You never want to count yourself out because you don’t know what the conditions will be."