Saturday 16 December 2017

Open Championship: Phil Mickelson stunned as he misses cut at Royal Lytham

Phil Mickelson finished 11 over par. Photo: Reuters
Phil Mickelson finished 11 over par. Photo: Reuters
Rory McIlroy tees off on the fifth hole
Brandt Snedeker of the US gestures after his birdie putt on the 12th green
Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the first hole

FOUR-time major winner Phil Mickelson was almost lost for words after missing only his fourth cut in 19 Open Championships.

The American carded a 78 - his fourth-worst 18-hole score in 68 rounds at Royla Lytham - to finish 11 over par.

"I don't know what to say right now," said the left-hander, who 12 months ago finished joint second.

In fact, he repeated that he did not know what to say a further four times during his four-minute interview.

A bogey and a double-bogey took him out in 37, leaving him six over for the tournament, and although a birdie at the par-three 12th raised hopes of turning things around he had two further double-bogeys and two other dropped shots on the closing holes to end his involvement early.

"I hit it solid but I didn't hit it straight and I found a lot of bunkers off the tee slightly left of my target," added the 42-year-old.

"I thought I was going to have a little bit of a better round than I did - it certainly got away from me the last six holes

"The last two months have been pretty poor to play and I'm pretty frustrated.

"I need to get better for Akron (the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational event) and the USPGA.

"I feel like I have some direction for the next week but I have a way to go...the scores are just so far off

"I'll work with Butch (Harmon, his coach) in the next week and see if I can get in a better frame of mind for the next two months because we have got some big tournaments and I have a lot of work to do in the next 10 days to be ready."

American Brandt Snedeker today claimed his place in Open Championship history to set a daunting clubhouse target.

Snedeker added a brilliant 64 to his opening 66 for a 10-under-par total of 130, equalling the lowest score over the first 36 holes in championship history and the lowest Open round at Lytham.

Nick Faldo also shot rounds of 66 and 64 at Muirfield in 1992, while Tom Lehman's round of 64 on his way to winning here in 1996 was matched by first-round leader Adam Scott.

Snedeker, who had been 25 over par for his previous three Open appearances, was two behind Scott overnight but wiped out his deficit in style with a flawless front nine of 30.

The 31-year-old from Tennessee picked up shots at the first, sixth, seventh and ninth, before adding further birdies on the 11th and 12th to move four shots clear of the field.

He looked in danger of dropping his first shots of the week on the 15th and 18th, but saved par superbly each time to complete a remarkable 36 holes without a bogey on one of the most difficult courses on the Open rota.

Scott remained six under after seven holes with 1999 champion Paul Lawrie five under after eight, while Tiger Woods was seven off the pace on three under.

World number one Luke Donald had earlier carded four birdies in five holes from the fourth to be out in 31, but then fluffed a chip on the 10th to bogey and eventually signed for a 68 to lie two under.

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