Phil Mickelson belts 370-yard drive, posts third-round 75, praises USGA at U.S. Open

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson belts 370-yard drive, posts third-round 75, praises USGA at U.S. Open

USGA

Phil Mickelson belts 370-yard drive, posts third-round 75, praises USGA at U.S. Open

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Phil Mickelson posted his worst score of the week so far with a 75 on Saturday in the third round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Then he had kind words for the USGA.

It was another Mickelson day, with plenty of good and some really bad.

The good?

How about a massive 370-drive on the ninth hole, leaving him with a wedge to the green on the 525-yard hole. He would hit the green in two and two-putt for par.

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On 12, Mickelson hit an amazing iron to the 202-yard 12th hole to about 3 feet. That set up a birdie but it was only one of the two birdies he would card on the day.

Then came the back nine, which was littered with bogeys on Nos. 11, 14 and 17 and capped off with a triple-bogey 8 on the closing hole after he drove his tee shot into the ocean.

That put him at T-50 for the tournament.

“Yeah, certainly I’m disappointed. I played — I felt like I played a lot better than I’m scoring. And certainly didn’t finish this round very well,” Mickelson said.

He then went on to praise the USGA, whom he lambasted a few weeks ago at the Memorial.

“I tell you, I think it’s — I’m really happy that I had this chance, this opportunity this week. I’ve got to give it to — hand it to the USGA for doing a great setup. It’s the best I’ve ever seen. And it’s identifying the best players. It’s making the players the story,” he said.

“I think the biggest thing was pin placements, instead of putting them right on the edges they were in good spots, rewarding great shots. I can’t say enough great things about how this week has gone so far. And I’m appreciative to the effort they’ve put in and for the opportunity that I had this week.”

Mickelson clearly was hoping for better, especially considering he won the last tournament on this course, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February.

“I’ll come out tomorrow and play as well as I can. But today was the day I needed to go low. I played well enough to do it. I had many opportunities. Didn’t putt well. Didn’t get them to go in. I left them short the whole time. And then I finished poorly,” Mickelson said.

“But for the most part I really enjoyed this week. I’ve had a lot of fun testing my game, testing myself mentally, my physical game. And it’s been a fun challenge.”

Mickelson on Father’s Day Sunday will celebrate his 49th birthday.

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