AKRON — It wasn’t Winged Foot but Phil Mickelson all but flew the coop on Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Up one through 14, Mickelson faded from top dog to a tie for fourth place, two shots back of winner Vijay Singh.
“It wasn’t a good finish for me today,” Mickelson said. “I’m turning 63s into 70s and that’s what kind of happened today. I couldn’t get any putts to go in. And then I made some bogeys.”
While it won’t sting like the collapse of the 2006 U.S. Open where Mickelson held a one-shot lead on the final hole and double bogeyed, it wasn’t exactly the finest hour for “Lefty.”
He bogeyed three of the last four holes and in a sense had a brain freeze on the par-5, 667-yard 16th hole. Needing a birdie to at least pressure the field on the hole, Mickelson missed on a 10-foot putt from the left side of the pin for what should have been a four.
Then Mickelson pressed and used the driver on 17 and 18.
Needing a red mark on the final two holes, he found the bunker off 17 and then snapped one into the trees on the left side of 18 and had no chance of getting out with anything less than a five on the par-4 holes.
Long and short of it
The par-5, 526-yard second hole kept its title as the easiest on the course with 154 birdies and 10 eagles against just
21 scores of bogey or worse the 320 times it was played. The par-4, 471-yard 13th grabbed the title for toughest with just 21 birdies against 97 scores of bogey or worse.
Tourney on the move
The venue will stay the same but Bridgestone is moving again. In an effort to keep the WGC event the week before a major, the PGA Tour stated that next year’s
11th Bridgestone — it was the NEC before the name change in 2006 — will be held Aug. 3-9. The PGA Championship takes place the following week at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.
Had Lee Westwood won this week it would have been the fifth European Tour member to win a World Golf Championship. Darren Clarke won the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2000 and the 2003 NEC Invitational. Ernie Els claimed the 2004 CA Championship and Henrik Stenson the Match Play event last year.