SOUTHPORT, England—Coming into the first British Open since 1994 without You Know Who in the field, Phil Mickelson was the overwhelming fan favorite. British bookmakers are a more cynical bunch—they didn't give Mickelson much chance of taking home the Claret Jug, presumably because of his lousy Open history that has seen him record just one top-10 finish in 15 previous trips across the Ocean.
As usual, the bookies were proved right.
In Saturday's third round Mickelson shot a lackluster 76, falling to 13-over-par for the tournament. Midway through the day's play, Lefty stood 11 strokes off the lead.
"I was fighting hard, and in the middle of the round it kind of got me," Mickelson said. "I was 2-over at the turn and I felt like if I could keep it around there I'd be okay. But those three bogeys [on 10, 11, and 12] hurt."
The world number two admitted that the cold weather and high winds nullified the strength of his game—creativity. "I don't think creativity is going to help you. I just kind of think you need to keep it in play and try to make as many pars as you can," he said.
Through 54 holes Mickelson has made just five birdies. (Photo: Peter Morrison/AP)