Mickelson eyes St Andrews
PHIL Mickelson was already looking forward to next year’s Open championship at St Andrews after narrowly missing out on the play-off at Royal Troon.
Mickelson held the outright lead for the first time all week when overnight leader Todd Hamilton bogeyed the tenth hole of the final round.
But the US Masters champion then dropped his first shot in 50 holes on the 13th and despite a birdie on the 16th was unable to catch Hamilton and Ernie Els.
It means the left-hander has now finished first, second and third in this year’s three major championships but he insisted: "I didn’t feel like it was a lost chance. I felt I played very well and thought if I could get to the top of the leaderboard or tied with nine to go I thought I could make nine pars on the back nine.
"I couldn’t see that many birdies out there. What Todd and Ernie did is really incredible. It’s a very difficult cross wind to get the ball close to the holes the way they did to get birdies is very impressive.
"I was just playing for pars and thought shooting even par was going to be good enough. I shot three under, I played solid. The guys behind me were making the birdies and I wasn’t."
Mickelson was seven shots off the lead after an opening 73 and rounds of 66, 68 and 68 saw him come up just short.
It was still easily his best finish in 12 Open appearances, surpassing his previous best of joint 11th in 2000.
"To miss out by a shot is certainly disappointing," he added. "I felt after the first day it would take a lot to get into contention and I played three very good rounds, making only one bogey, and I was very proud of that.
"I love this tournament, I just haven’t played well in the past. I feel like I’ve been working hard on the shots that are required over here, I executed them well.
"I’m looking forward to next year at St Andrews. I love that golf course. It’s a wonderful test of golf. It’s a little disappointing to fall short here but it’s also very encouraging to know that I’m able to contend in this great championship."
While Mickelson can be pleased with another excellent showing in a major, the drawing board beckons for Vijay Singh after the world No3’s challenge sank without trace.
Much was expected of the Fijian but a crippling five-over round of 76 on Saturday all but ended his chances of success.
Singh, who finished tied for second at last year’s Open, fared marginally better on the final day with an level-par 71 but it did little to cheer the two-time major winner.
"I’m extremely disappointed with the way I played yesterday and a few holes today," said Singh, who admitted he had a lot to ponder ahead of next month’s USPGA Championship, a tournament he won in 1998.
"I don’t know, I just have to go and rethink what I need to do. You can’t be making so many simple mistakes in majors.
"I feel like I’m putting well but the balls are not going in - so I can’t be putting well. Putting is just another of those hiccups. If you don’t make so many mistakes off the tees and on the fairways, you’d be okay."
Singh has been in inspired form on the US PGA tour this year - winning three tournaments - and looked well-placed at the halfway point here.
At three under par, he was tied for fourth place and just two shots off joint leaders Paul Casey and Thomas Levet.
It all went horribly wrong on day three, though, and Singh is determined to avoid a repeat performance at the US PGA.
"I’ll have a rethink, I have two weeks out of the next three off before the major and I want to arrive at Whistling Straits ready. I don’t want to arrive and feel like ‘maybe, maybe not’. I want to arrive there totally ready."
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Monday 20 May 2013
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