Mickelson career slam on hold
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Phil Mickelson looks like he won’t be able to celebrate his 49th birthday by completing the career grand slam.
Needing to post a low score in the third round at Pebble Beach to get into contention Saturday, Mickelson failed to drain birdie putts early and self-destructed late to finish with a 4-over 75 and another disappointing weekend at the U.S. Open.
“Today was the day I needed to go low,” Mickelson said. “I played well enough to do it. I had many opportunities. Didn’t putt well. Didn’t get them to go in. I left them short the whole time. And then I finished poorly.”
Mickelson, who turns 49 on Sunday, heads into the final round at 3 over par and far behind the leaders as he is running out of chances to add the final piece of the career grand slam to his impressive career. Mickelson is playing his 28th U.S. Open and has a record six runner-up finishes.
This was his fifth try at completing the slam since he picked up the third leg at Muirfield in the 2013 British Open. Now he will have to try to become the sixth player to do it when the U.S. Open returns to Winged Foot, where he had a one-shot lead going into the final hole of the 2006 U.S. Open and made double bogey to finish a shot behind.
This might have been his best chance remaining at one of his favorite courses, where his grandfather served as a caddie back when it opened 100 years ago. Mickelson has won the regular PGA Tour stop here five times, including back in February, but will fall short once again when the biggest prize is at stake.
He missed birdie putts at Nos. 7, 8 and 9 as he failed to take advantage on the scoring holes early.
Mickelson’s big problems came on the back nine with a bogey on the par-5 14th and a bogey from the bunker on the par-3 17th. And then it really came undone on the par-5 18th, when he drove left into the Pacific. He hit a wedge into a bunker and when he finally walked off the green, Mickelson had a triple bogey.
“I felt like I played a lot better than I’m scoring,” Mickelson said. “And certainly didn’t finish this round very well.”