by Jeff Skinner
And then there were six…six second place finishes at the U.S. Open for Phil Mickelson. The Men of Merion played their hearts out over a difficult course today with Justin Rose managing to hang on for a nail biting, one stroke win over Jason Day and Mickelson. With Rose looking to the sky to honor his father as he putted out on eighteen we could say his was a heartfelt win indeed. Mickelson however was left with nothing but heartbreak.
That was how Phil described the feeling of once again finishing second at the Open. It seems to be a summer tradition: Phil finishing an agonizing second to a host of players at the Open. At 43 his window is closing and he knows it. That makes this loss the most painful of all his Opens.
Mickelson had difficulty early on with double bogeys on three and five but then an eagle on ten put him back in the lead. But Phil continued to burn the edges of the cups with near misses and couldn’t get anything to drop.
At the 121 yard thirteenth he airmailed the green and took bogey. At the fifteenth he left his approach so short he needed to chip on the green to try and get close to the pin and finished with bogey. And on the long par three seventeenth when he really needed a birdie his tee shot left him an unlikely 40 foot putt for birdie. His par left him with the difficult task of making a bird on eighteen to tie Rose. The task was too daunting and his bogey left him in the familiar spot of second at the Open once again.
The difference in the Rose and Mickelson finish wasn’t much. With the outcome on the line Phil played 11-18 in three over par while Rose played the same stretch in just one over. That was just enough to leave Phil feeling heartbroken once again.