After shooting a 74 on Day 4, Phil Mickelson finished second at the U.S. Open for the sixth time in his career, falling just two shots shy of winner Justin Rose with a final score of plus-three 283.
The crushing blow of coming in second at the U.S. Open hits Mickelson once again despite a solid round of golf at Merion Golf Club, and the hunt for the elusive final major in his career Grand Slam will continue.
Mickelson's Week at Merion
Mickelson started his fourth day at Merion Golf Club with a poor shot off the first tee, but he was able to use his great mid-range game to get himself out of trouble. While there are others on the sport’s top tour that can be comparable in terms of iron play, Mickelson understands just how great he is, letting fellow golfer Colt Knost in on his confidence:
The five-time U.S. Open runner-up made par on the first two holes, though he missed a birdie opportunity on hole No. 2 that would have started him off on the right foot. Still, the struggles only got worse after that:
While Mickelson managed to birdie hole No. 4, he double-bogeyed both the No. 3 and No. 5 holes to bring him back into positive numbers. Most golfers would fall apart after an early performance like that, but this is not Mickelson’s first U.S. Open rodeo.
Mickelson understood where he was on the leaderboard and did not panic. Instead, he went on to finish the front nine with four straight pars. While he still trailed Justin Rose for the outright lead, the American had put himself in a position to succeed.
After making the turn and heading to the back nine, hole No. 10 is where Mickelson proved he could still contend for a win. With one of the most beautiful shots of the entire tournament, Mickelson hit an eagle off the fairway and celebrated accordingly.
The great score on No. 10 led to two straight pars on holes No. 11 and No. 12, but an errant tee shot on an easy No. 13 led to a bogey and put Mickelson a shot off the lead heading into the toughest stretch of the entire course.
Mickelson carried his struggles into the 14th hole, but after a tee shot to forget and another bad swing, he finally sank a huge putt to par the hole and minimize the damage. After bogeying the tough 15th, Mickelson missed a perfect birdie opportunity on hole No. 16 and remained a shot behind the lead by making par.
The 17th was a par for Mickelson, and with Justin Rose entering the clubhouse with the one-stroke lead, Lefty needed to birdie hole No. 18. The pressure was officially on.
Mickelson’s drive off the 18th tee was wide left and found the rough, but the lie in the grass wasn’t terrible. Lefty drove it onto the fairway, but missed his birdie shot to give Rose the win and finish in second place once again, tied with Jason Day.
For Mickelson, a win at the 2013 U.S. Open would have been an amazing accomplishment, especially with this being both Father's Day and his birthday. In the end, though, Lefty came up just short once again, unable to conquer this major for the first time in his decorated career.