Mickelson gets aggressive, adds driver, shoots 78


PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Phil Mickelson began the final round 11 strokes out of the lead and in need of something special on Saturday if he was going to get back into contention at the PGA Championship.

This wasn’t what he had in mind.

The world No. 2 made triple bogey-7 at the seventh, double bogey-6 at No. 14 and played his last five holes in 5 over par for a 78, his worst score at the PGA since the third round in 2002 at Hazeltine National.

Only Gary Woodland (80) posted a higher Round 3 score and Mickelson was 74th, out of 75 players who made the cut, when he left Oak Hill.

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“I’ve been swinging well this year and hitting shots easy, but these last two weeks after taking a week off after the British it just hasn’t quite clicked,” Mickelson told Golf Channel. “I’m going to take a week off and start fresh.”

That he needed to make up ground likely cost Lefty on Saturday. After winning the Open Championship and Scottish Open without a driver in his bag, Mickelson put his Phranken-wood back into the bag for Round 3, which is effectively a 2-wood that he considers his driver.

The result was a round during which he hit just 5 of 14 fairways, and he wasn’t much better on the greens with 34 putts.

“I put the driver in the bag today and the first hole I used it was on the fourth and hooked in the rough and made six. The next hole I used it was seven and blocked it in the rough and made triple,” he said. “Thought I’d give it one more try on 14 and hit it in the left trees and made double. My luck with that club has not been very good.”