Phil Mickelson Eyes First Open Championship
Phil Mickelson, a three time Masters winner, will look to end America’s five major drought and secure his first Open Championship when the PGA Tour arrives at the English hamlet of Sandwich this week. Mickelson has never played his best golf at the British Open, but he hopes to change that this weekend with a solid showing at the Royal St George’s Golf Club.
Phil Mickelson started the season on a high note, placing in the top 10 in two of the first three tournaments he entered. After a bit of a rough patch through February and March, the San Diego native rebounded with a win at the Shell Houston Open in April. Mickelson shot a 20 under par 268 at the event, which to this point has served as his only 2011 victory.
Following his win in Houston, Mickleson placed 27th at The Masters before tying for ninth at the Wells Fargo Championship in early May. It has been a down hill slide for “Lefty” since his appearance at Quail Hollow as he finished 33rd at THE PLAYERS Championship, 13th at The Memorial, and 54th at the U.S. Open.
Given his recent play and his lackluster history at the Open, Mickelson could be considered a long shot winner this weekend. The 41 year old, despite his many career successes, did not dismiss that notion.
“I look at it (the Open) more now as a challenge,” Mickelson said. “There’s really one year that I played well, in 2004, where I was a shot out of the play-off.”
Mickelson’s failure to master links play has invigorated him, though, sharpening his desire to win the Claret Jug.
“I have not performed to the level that I have played in, say, week-in and week-out in the States,” Mickelson said. “I want to change that, to compete and win at this level in this style of golf. If I can do that I’ll become the complete player.”
Mickelson, who prepped for the 140th Open Championship by participating in the Scottish Open over the weekend, will be paired with last year’s Open winner, Louis Oosthuizen, and 2010 PGA champion Martin Kaymer when the tournament gets underway on Thursday.
Mickelson tied for 58th at the Castle Stuart Golf Links on Sunday, but he did shoot a seven under par 209 for the rain shortened event. After a poor opening day score of 73, Mickelson hit his stride in rounds two and three, posting totals of 67 and 69 respectively.
Mickelson finished 48th at the 2010 British Open; he missed the cut at the event as recently as 2007.