When Phil Mickelson dramatically made eagle on the 10th hole on Sunday at Merion in the final round of the U.S. Open, it seemed like he was on his way to finally winning his first–and dearly coveted–U.S. Open on Father’s Day and his 43rd birthday.
But Mickelson could not keep his one-shot lead with eight holes to play, finishing second at the U.S. Open for the record sixth time. Mickelson started the day as the leader at -1, the only player who was in red numbers after 54 holes, but his four-over 74 put him 2 shots behind winner Justin Rose, who won his first U.S. Open and major. Mickelson and Jason Day were tied at +3.
“Heartbreak,” Mickelson simply and candidly said. “This is tough to swallow after coming so close. This was my best chance out of of all of ‘em.”
He blamed poor wedge shots on 13 and 15 for ultimately costing him the tournament, but he did make two double bogeys on the front nine.
Mickelson said he felt like this was “as good an opportunity as you can” have to win a U.S. Open, especially since he liked the course, which allowed him to be aggressive in his shot-making. He was all over the place on Sunday, though, with two bogeys, an eagle, three bogeys, and a lone birdie on his card.
“To not do it … it hurts,” he said.
This loss seemed more painful to him than his 1999 lost to Payne Stewart at Pinehurst and his 2009 implosion at the 18th hole at Winged Foot.