AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Phil Mickelson rolled a 22-foot birdie putt just below the hole at No. 18, his last miss on a day packed end to end with wasted opportunities.
When it was finally over, Lefty signed for a 7-over 79 – his worst round ever at the Masters in 24 appearances, giving Mickelson as many missed cuts as green jackets. The cut was at 6 over par.
Mickelson shot even-par in his opening round and looked like a lock to make it into the weekend. But Friday began with a strong breeze and gusts up to 30 mph and that touched off a series of what he called "just stupid things" beginning at No. 7. The miscues began piling up – a ball left in a bunker, several missed short putts, and two approach shots dumped into the drink at Nos. 15 and 16 – which produced back-to-back double bogeys. That set up a frantic scramble on the last two holes.
"I don't know how to explain it," Mickelson, 45, said afterward. "I just threw away a lot of shots. I just made a lot of poor shots in the wrong spot. This is worst I've managed myself around this golf course."
A year ago, Mickelson finished tied for second behind Jordan Spieth. After arriving this week, he said that while his expectations hadn't changed, he was driving the ball well and, "I feel a little bit more relaxed heading into this event because I'm not trying to find anything.
"I feel I'll able to put the ball in play a lot easier," he added. "And as I'm doing that, my iron play, which I feel is the strength of my game, will be an advantage."
Yet even his normally stellar wedge game let Mickelson down. At No. 15, he laid up and left himself 94 yards in and somehow, hit the ball just 65 yards and into the pond fronting the green.
"I just thought it was set up very, very well," he said finally. "The guys that played well got rewarded and the guys who did dumb stuff like I did shot a big number. So it happens."
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