Phil Mickelson looks to take ‘stress’ out of game after US Open flameout

Phil Mickelson came to this U.S. Open with a score to settle at Winged Foot, where he famously lost in 2006 with a double bogey on the 72nd hole.

He failed to find redemption, quietly missing the cut on Friday. One day after opening the tournament with a 9-over 79, Mickelson shot a 4-over 74 on Friday to finish 13-over for the week.

“I find that I’ve been playing very well at home, and I get out here where the penalty for a mis-hit is severe, and I find myself getting a little tight and a little steer-y, and playing some of my worst golf,’’ he said. “That’s something I’ve got to work on and fix. When I go back home, I don’t have the stress, and I seem to play just fine, but I’ve got to be able to bring it out here under these conditions.’’

Asked what’s next for him, he said, “I’m going to head home and take a few weeks off and go from there.’’

It’s possible this could have been Mickelson’s final U.S. Open, though the 2021 U.S. Open is at Torrey Pines, which is one of Mickelson’s home courses, and the USGA could grant him a special invitation if he’s not otherwise qualified. Mickelson, in the lead-up to this U.S. Open, though, said he would not accept an invite and wanted to earn it on it his own.

Phil Mickelson
Phil MickelsonGetty Images

Amateur John Pak, from Scotch Plains, N.J., made the cut at 5-over after following his opening-round 69 with a 76 Friday. … Local pro Danny Balin, who lives in Westchester and is the head pro at Fresh Meadow on Long Island, finished 10-over after 73-77. Balin also missed the cut at the PGA Championship at Harding Park. … Brandon Wu, from Scarsdale, also finished 10-over with rounds of 74-76.

“It was such a thrill to be able to get to hit the first tee shot, to stay at home for a U.S. Open,’’ Wu said. “I just kind of tried to soak it all in. Obviously, it’s a tough golf course, and I didn’t have my best this week, but at the end of the day I think it’s all smiles and just move forward and kind of enjoy these experiences.’’

Jordan Spieth, who continues to search for his game, shot 81 Friday after a 73 on Thursday and finished 14-over for the week. … Thomas Pieters, who shot 66 on Thursday, had it to a tournament-low 6-under par with birdies on Nos. 1 and 5 Friday. But he faded to a 74 in the second round to stand at even par.

Eduard Rousaud, an amateur from Spain, had a dream start to his first U.S. Open with a hole out for eagle on the first hole Thursday. His U.S. Open experience went the other way from there. He finished his first round with a 76 and then shot 85 to Friday to finish 21-over par for the week.

Andrew Putnam withdrew while playing the fifth hole with a back ailment. He was 8-over at the time. … Shaun Norris had one of the biggest flip scores from one day to the next, following his opening-round 1-under-par 69 with a 79 Friday to miss the cut.

New York Post

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