SO CLOSE: Phil Mickelson of the US finishes the 18th hole on the first day of the British Open at Royal Troon.
SO CLOSE: Phil Mickelson of the US finishes the 18th hole on the first day of the British Open at Royal Troon. FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Mickelson denied spot in history but still leads the Fab Four

GOLF: Phil Mickelson thought he had made history. He thought his 18-foot birdie putt at the last hole was in. He was about to be the first player to shoot 62 in 156 years of major championship golf. And then his ball lipped out. “Oh my god,” he mouthed in horror before covering his face in his hands.

Despite leading the Open with an eight-under-par 63, Mickelson was gutted.

“It was one of the best rounds that I’ve played and yet I want to shed a tear right now,” Mickelson said after his round. “That putt on 18 was an opportunity to do something historical. I knew it, and with a foot to go I thought I had done it. I went to go get it, I had that surge of adrenaline that I had just shot 62, and then I had the heartbreak that I didn’t and watched that ball lip out. It was, wow, that stinks.”

“It’s such a rare opportunity to do something historic. If I had just hit a weak flail-off and never had a chance and left it short, so be it. But this ball was hunting right in the centre and didn’t go. There’s a curse because that ball should have been in. If there wasn’t a curse, that ball would have been in and I would have had that 62.”

The so-called Fab Four were off the pace set by Mickelson on the opening day. Rory McIlroy was the best of them at three-under. Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth finished at level par, while world No.1 Jason Day, from Australia, was two-over.

Mickelson had a three-shot lead over German Martin Kaymer and American Patrick Reed at five-under, with defending champion Zach Johnson a further shot back.

Adam Scott and Matt Jones were the best-placed Aussies at two-under.

INM


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