Mickelson’s hopes fading fast
Phil Mickelson’s bid to replace Tiger Woods as World No 1 is fading fast in Sunday’s final round at Firestone CC
Phil Mickelson’s bid to replace Tiger Woods as world number one was fading fast in Sunday’s final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Ohio.
With Woods finishing joint 78th in the 80-man field after a closing round of 77, Mickelson knew he only needed to finish fourth or better to move to the top of the world rankings.
The US Masters champion was joint 10th overnight and four shots off the lead, but dropped three shots in his first seven holes to slide down the leaderboard.
After finding a greenside bunker in two on the par-five second, Mickelson surprisingly thinned his recovery well over the green to run up a bogey six.
A wayward drive at the sixth cost the left-hander another shot, and when he bogeyed the seventh as well, Mickelson was down in 26th place.
At two under par he was eight shots off the lead held by fellow American Ryan Palmer, who had birdied the first to move one ahead of playing partner Sean O’Hair.
Earlier in the day, Woods had carded three birdies, six bogeys and two double bogeys to finish 18 over par at Firestone, a venue where he had won on his previous four visits.
That 18-over total set an unwanted record for the world number one’s highest 72-hole score in relation to par.
His total of 298 was also the highest fou-round total of his PGA Tour career.
The wilting Tiger’s previous worst finish as a professional in any event in which he played four rounds was a tie for 60th at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open in his professional debut.
Speaking to reporters after his round, Woods said: “Shooting 18 over is no fun. It’s tough.
“The only thing I can say is that all week I was patient. Unfortunately that’s not enough.”
Woods is currently outside the automatic qualifying places for the US Ryder Cup team with just one counting event remaining.
And asked if he wanted to play at Celtic Manor from October 1-3, he added: “Not playing like this. I would not help the team if I was playing like this.
“I think I can turn it around. We have a lot of time between now and then, which is good.”
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