Major Leaguesby Brian Hewitt
Face it: Phil had been Phloundering.
His record in his four starts preceding the St. Jude Classic: missed cut at Players; closing 73 at Wells Fargo; T54 at The Masters and T16 in Houston.
After eight holes in Memphis last Thursday he was 3-over par and vanishing rapidly from the short and long lists of favorites for this week’s U.S. Open.
Then he started hitting fairways, something the winner will HAVE to do at constricted Merion. Then he posted 67, 65, 67 to burgle the spotlight from winner Harris English.
The cherry on the top of the parfait was the 169-yard Mickelson stack job that stopped dead in its tracks, a foot from his 72nd hole.
Second is where Phil wound up Sunday, and second is where he has infamously finished five times in the U.S. Open, a championship he has never won.
“Pleased?” announcer David Feherty asked after his round.
“I am,” Phil said.
Mickelson also pilfered a large portion of media attention from an LPGA major where World No. 1 Inbee Park of South Korea outlasted Scotswoman Catriona Matthew in upstate New York to win the LPGA Championship on the third extra hole.
Elsewhere, Dutchman Joost Luiten waltzed to victory in Austria. And South African David Frost held off Fred Couples in Alabama in a senior major.
Finally this heads-up:
The early U.S. Open focus is now on Phil in Philly and the Woods-McIlroy-Scott grouping.
But the lightning rod threesome of Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts likely will reveal more because it will signal what the bombers will and will not be able to do to Merion.
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