Eagle lone highlight for Phil Mickelson

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Phil Mickelsons second shot Sunday at the PGA Championship carried about 199 yards, bounced 6 feet in front of the hole and found the cup for an eagle.
 
I couldnt believe that thing went in, Mickelson said. Those are fun to see.
 
It also proved to be a mirage.
 
Mickelson shot 6 over on the remaining 17 holes to cap a miserable week at Hazeltine National, finishing 12 over 300. Its the first time hes shot 300 at a major in 11 years, dating to the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 1998.
 
The last two weeks have been frustrating with my play, Mickelson said. Ill have a week off here fortunately before we start the FedEx Cup and Ill see if I can get my game turned around for Barclays.
 
Lefty took six weeks off earlier this summer after his wife and mother were diagnosed with breast cancer, and his game has been slow to return. He played last week at the Bridgestone for the first time since the U.S. Open in June and tied for 58th.
 
His struggles continued at the PGA.
 
Mickelson teed off bright and early at 8:12 a.m., and he woke up the crowd when he holed out for eagle on the par-4, 490-yard first hole. The roar could be heard across the course, and it spurred Mickelson on to a 1-under 35 on the front nine.
 
Of course, Mickelson didnt have to putt on No. 1, which was a good thing. He has struggled all week to regain his putting stroke with minimal success. He needed 34 putts in the first round, 33 in the second and 30 on Saturday as he plummeted out of contention.
 
I havent putted the best for a little while now, so its probably going to take a little more than overnight, he said. But I at least feel like I have a little bit better direction.
 
Mickelson birdied Nos. 9 and 14, but a disastrous trip through the signature 16th summed up his week. He hit a poor tee shot way left into the hazard area, but was able to play it in the deep rough. But he chunked his utility club and the ball plopped into the creek just a few feet down the slope.
 
Mickelson spent extra time on the practice greens this week tinkering with his putting stroke, but declined to discuss the changes he was making.
 
He said will play The Barclays in two weeks, but has not laid out a longer-term plan for the rest of the season.
 
Fred Couples did say though that he expects Mickelson to play in the Presidents Cup.
 
I think everything is fine there, Couples said. I hope he wants to play. I hope he can play. I hope Amys there. I believe in all that that they will both be there.
 

 
TORTOISE AND THE OHAIR: Last week at the Bridgestone, course officials had to tell Padraig Harrington and Tiger Woods to speed up.
 
On Sunday at the PGA, Hazeltine officials had to tell Sean OHair to slow down.
 
OHair was the first player on the course Sunday morning, teeing off by himself at 7:36 a.m. The American wasted little time bringing an end to a long week. OHair finished his round in a blistering 2 hours and 13 minutes, averaging about 6 minutes a hole.
 
I actually didnt play that bad, OHair said.
 
And after shooting an 82 on Saturday to drop him to 13 over, OHair, who won the Quail Hollow Championship and has five other top 10 finishes this year, actually played better at the breakneck pace. He shot 73, tying his lowest round of the week, to finish the tournament at 14-over 302.
 
He had three bogeys and two birdies, but had to be told to slow down at the turn because he was catching up to the hole crews who were still putting the pins in the greens.
 
For me, it just kind of gets you in that good momentum, OHair said. You just get up there and hit it.
 

 
MAJOR PROBLEMS: U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover shot a 2-over 74 on Sunday to tie for fifth at 2-under 286, capping a frustrating week for this years major champions at Hazeltine National.
 
I hit some loose shots and my putter sort of ran out of gas for me, Glover said.
 
He started the day four strokes back of the lead and hoping to get back into contention, but he had trouble with the putter for most of the afternoon.
 
Just one of those days were there was a lid on it, Glover said.
 
He wasnt the only one who had trouble.
 
After tying for fourth at the Bridgestone last week, Masters winner Angel Cabrera never really got going at Hazeltine. He shot three rounds of 4-over 76, including the final round on Sunday, and finished 10 over and tied for 63rd.
 
Cabrera had an 8 on the par-3 eighth hole and then a bogey on the ninth during his 76 on Sunday.
 
British Open winner Stewart Cink finished with an 81 on Sunday and was 11 over for the tournament and tied for 67th.
 

 
SHOELESS JIM: Jim Furyks second shot on No. 8 went right of the green and down into the rough on the backside of the hill, stopping just before falling into the water.
 
So Furyk removed his right shoe and sock and rolled up his pant leg to his knee, then executed a beautiful little punch shot to 3 feet. He walked up the hill and put the gimme putt in with his foot still bare, much to the delight of the gallery.
 
Furyk shot 5-over 77 and finished the tournament at 10 over.
 

 
PGA BOUND: By finishing in the top 15, John Merrick and Italian Francesco Molinari both qualified for the PGA next year at Whistling Straits.
 
Merrick and Molinari were among six players who tied for 10th at even-par 288.
 
Merrick, from Long Beach, Calif., tied for the low round of the day with a 70 to ensure his return next year.
 

 
DIVOTS: Tom Lehman, the only Minnesota native in the field, shot 3-over 75 to finish 11 over for the tournament. The University of Minnesota alum got a rousing ovation as he walked to the 18th green, holding up his driver with the Golden Gopher head cover.
 
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