JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Phil Mickelson went on a furious final-round rally at The Barclays on Sunday before a final-hole bogey virtually eliminated him from title contention.
Wearing the title sponsor’s logo on his shirt, playing on a course where he’s a member and competing in front of fans he calls his favorite, Mickelson rallied to post seven birdies in the final round before pulling a 9-iron from 168 yards into a greenside bunker on Liberty National’s last hole, then failing to get up and down.
“I tried to muscle a 9-iron and as I was standing over it, I just couldn't feel myself get it there and I just tried to clobber it, rather than getting it in the air and trying to bring it in softer,” he explained. “That's that sloppy stuff I was talking about. That was the only time I did that today. I did a bunch of it yesterday. And if I can eliminate that for next week, I can have a good week next week because I'm playing well.”
That was his only mistake.
Following pars on his first five holes, Mickelson carded birdies on seven of his next 10 to move to within one stroke of the lead. Surprisingly, he maintained afterward that it wasn’t a result of increasingly aggressive strategy.
“No, it was just to play a good, solid round; to play smart, to hit the shots and to miss it in the proper places and play a good, solid round and use it as a motivation or momentum-builder for next week,” he said. “Because being nine shots back starting the day, you don't think you have a chance.”