Wobbly wedge play leads Phil Mickelson to 4-over 76

Phil Mickelson was a bit wild with his wedges, leading to a 4-over 76 on Thursday at the Masters.
Phil Mickelson was a bit wild with his wedges, leading to a 4-over 76 on Thursday at the Masters. ( Getty Images )

Thursday, April 10, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Phil Mickelson shot 76, one off his high in 21 previous Masters. He made a short-game triple bogey on a hole (No. 7) where he had never made worse than bogey. He made a double bogey at 15, where his third shot spun back into the pond. And, understandably, he walked off disappointed.

"It wasn't the best day for me," he said.

But there's a stunning kicker.

"I actually played well," the three-time Masters champion said. "I know it's hard (to believe). . . . But I don't feel like my game is off. I don't feel I need to go to the range to find something."

Not with ball-striking, anyway; his was solid. And not with putting; he said he felt great with the shortest club. But his wedge was off, largely because of miscalculations, and Mickelson's strength long has been wielding a wedge.

"I've got some issues," he said, adding he made a "lot of little mental errors around the greens."

That pertained mainly to a couple of chips on the par-4 seventh, where he was 35 feet from the pin in two, just off the right edge of the green, but took five shots to get down. He chipped some 40 feet past the pin and then, going back up the hill, chipped 8 feet by. His putt ran 4-5 feet by and he missed coming back.

He said he misjudged the firmness of the green.

"The greens were soft, so I thought that first bounce would be soft," he said. "Same with the second chip. . . . I threw away a lot of shots."

The five-time major champion, who hasn't had a PGA Tour top-10 finish since Augusta, walked off in a tie for 67th.

"I've got a lot of work to do just to make the cut," he said.