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    • Mickelson's close calls at the U.S. Open

      Lefty has a record six runners-up

    • Phil Mickelson made double-bogey on the final hole of the 2006 U.S. Open to lose by one shot. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Phil Mickelson made double-bogey on the final hole of the 2006 U.S. Open to lose by one shot. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    The focus is on Phil Mickelson at this year's U.S. Open, and for good reason. Mickelson's dramatic Open Championship victory last July left him one U.S. Open win from the career grand slam. His national championship has been the event that has given him the most heartbreak, though. Mickelson has a record six runners-up in the U.S. Open. His first second-place showing came in 1999 at Pinehurst No. 2, site of this year's U.S. Open. He famously wore a pager that week as his wife, Amy, prepared to give birth to their first child. Payne Stewart beat him by one shot with an 18-foot par putt on the final hole, months before being killed in a plane crash.

    Mickelson also has had dramatic close calls at Winged Foot and Shinnecock and Bethpage State Park since. And then there was last year's U.S. Open at Merion, where a holed wedge shot Sunday gave him the lead, but missteps over similarly short approach shots led to his undoing. As we prepare for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, here's a look at Mickelson's close calls in previous Opens.

    Phil Mickelson made bogeys on three of his final six holes at Merion to finish two shots behind Justin Rose. (Getty Images/Andrew Redington)

    Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa.
    54-hole position:
     1st, 1 shot ahead of Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel and Steve Stricker
    Final-round score: 74
    Finish: T2, 2 shots behind Justin Rose
    What happened: The stage was set for the storyline finish. Mickelson’s 43 birthday fell on the U.S. Open’s final round, and he started the day with a one-shot lead. This was the first time he had the outright lead entering the Open’s final round. He struggled early, making double-bogeys at Nos. 3 and 5, but regained the lead after holing a 75-yard shot for eagle at the par-4 10th. Bogeys on three of his final six holes kept him from winning, though. He flew the green on the 121-yard, par-3 13th hole to make bogey, then “quit” on a wedge approach shot to No. 15, resulting in another bogey. Merion’s 18th hole didn’t allow a birdie in either of the final two rounds, but Mickelson needed one to tie Rose. Mickelson made bogey after a last-ditch effort to chip-in from in front of the green.
    Notable quote: "This is tough to swallow after coming so close. This was my best chance of all. I had a golf course I really liked. I felt this was as good as opportunity as you could ask for. It really hurts."

    Mickelson's 66 in the second round of the 2010 U.S. Open matched the tournament's low round. (Getty Images/Harry How)

    Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links
    54-hole position:
     6th, 7 shots behind Dustin Johnson
    Final-round score: 73
    Finish: T4, 3 shots behind Graeme McDowell
    What happened: Mickelson had moved within two shots of the lead after a second-round 66, but Dustin Johnson matched that score in the third round to take control. Johnson’s struggles – he shot a final-round 82 -- let the field back in the tournament, though. Mickelson made birdie on the first hole to reach even par – McDowell’s eventual winning score – then parred the next eight holes to make the turn in 34. He made three bogeys – at Nos. 10, 14 and 16 – and six pars on the final nine.

    Mickelson was hardly the only one to struggle on the second nine. The top 11 on the leaderboard averaged 2 over par on the back nine. Mickelson lamented missed opportunities on Pebble Beach’s accessible opening holes, though. He missed a 15-foot eagle putt at the short par-4 fourth hole and made par on the par-5 sixth hole despite having just a 5-iron remaining into the green for his second shot.
    Notable quote: “Having that opportunity to win is what's so fun, and it's what's so exciting as a professional golfer, and I knew the entire round pretty much that if I could make some birdies or shoot under par, that I might be able to do it.”

    Mickelson made eagle on the par-5 13th to tie the lead, but bogeyed Bethpage Black's par-3 17th. (Getty Images/Andrew Redington)

    Bethpage State Park (Black), Farmingdale, N.Y.
    54-hole position:
    T5, 6 shots behind Ricky Barnes
    Final-round score: 70
    Finish: T2, 2 shots behind Lucas Glover
    What happened: Mickelson was playing in front of the partisan New York fans again in 2009. Already a sentimental favorite because of his four previous U.S. Open runners-up, Mickelson also had the galleries’ support because his wife, Amy, and mother, Mary, were battling breast cancer. Mickelson reached 4 under par – the eventual winning score -- with a birdie at the 504-yard, par-4 12th and eagle at the 605-yard, par-5 13th. He made a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 12 before hitting his second shot at the next hole to 5 feet. He missed a 3-foot par putt at 15 and an 8-foot par putt at the par-3 17th, though.
    Notable quote: “I was standing on the eighth tee box after a couple of bogeys at even par not looking good, and I fought back in it with that birdie on 9, birdie on 12, eagle on 13, and put myself in a great position to close it out. But unfortunately I didn't finish it off.
    “And certainly I'm disappointed, but now that it's over, I've got more important things going on, and, oh, well.”

    Mickelson arrived at Winged Foot's 18th hole with a one-shot lead but made double-bogey. (Getty Images/Ezra Shaw)

    Winged Foot
    54-hole position:
    T1 with Kenneth Ferrie, 1 shot ahead of Geoff Ogilvy
    Final-round score: 74
    Finish: T2, 1 shot behind Ogilvy
    What happened: This may have been the most dramatic of Mickelson’s U.S. Open meltdowns. He was seeking his third straight major win after claiming the 2005 PGA Championship and 2006 Masters. Mickelson arrived at the 18th hole with a one-shot lead but made double-bogey after slicing his drive so far left that it bounced off a hospitality tent. His ball ended up in an area where the gallery had trampled the rough. He tried to cut a 3-iron around a tree, but his ball hit a tree and stayed in the left rough, a long way from the green. His next shot plugged in a greenside bunker, and he failed to get up-and-down.
    Notable quote: “I still am in shock that I did that. I just can't believe that I did that. I am such an idiot. I just couldn't hit a fairway all day. ... tried to go to my bread and butter shot, a baby carve slice on 18 and just get it in the fairway, and I missed it left. It was still okay, wasn't too bad. I just can't believe I couldn't par the last hole. It really stings. ... As a kid I dreamt of winning this tournament. This one is going to take a little while to get over. This one is pretty disappointing.”

    Mickelson, right, stands at the trophy ceremony with low amateur Spencer Levin. (Getty Images/A. Messerschmidt)

    Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.
    54-hole position:
    T2, 2 shots behind Retief Goosen
    Final-round score: 71
    Finish: 2nd, 2 shots behind Goosen
    What happened: This was Mickelson’s first major start after he claimed his first Grand Slam title at the 2004 Masters. He made three birdies in a four-hole stretch – on Nos. 13, 15 and 16 – to take a one-shot lead. Then a three-putt from 8 feet on No. 17 cost him his second major. His 6-iron tee shot at the par-3 17th landed in the left bunker. His bunker shot took a big bounce and scooted 8 feet past the hole. He ran his par putt 6 feet past the hole, then missed the bogey putt. “I hit an easy putt because I knew it was quick. But it still shouldn't have gone 6, 7 feet by,” Mickelson said. “The putt was downwind. When the wind gets a hold of it on these greens, it takes it. It just wouldn't stop.” He finished two shots behind Goosen after making par on 18.
    Notable quote: “After I birdied 16, I had a one-shot lead, and I thought this was going to be the day.”

    Mickelson finished three shots behind Tiger Woods at Bethpage Black in 2002. (Getty Images/Stephen Munday)

    Bethpage State Park (Black), Farmingdale, N.Y.
    54-hole position:
    T3, 5 shots behind Tiger Woods
    Final-round score: 70
    Finish: 2nd, 3 shots behind Tiger Woods
    What happened: Woods started the day with a four-shot lead over Sergio Garcia but made bogey on the first two holes.  Mickelson, a favorite of the New York crowds, pulled within two shots with a birdie at No. 13. Woods also birdied the hole, though, to regain a three-shot lead. Mickelson fell four behind Woods after a bogey at No. 16, though. The victory gave Woods wins in the year’s first two majors; he went on to finish 28th at The Open Championship and second at the PGA Championship. The 2002 U.S. Open was Mickelson’s third consecutive top-3 finish in a major.
    Notable quote: “This was certainly not a disappointing day today. It was one of the most exciting days that I've had in the game of golf. It was very electrifying, very similar to what the 99 Ryder Cup in Boston was. It was an incredible feeling, and a very exciting event to be a part of. And I could feel the electricity in the air. I could feel the excitement stirring, and I could feel as though I had a really good shot at it. Making birdie on 11 and making birdie on 13, I could sense that I was closing the gap there, and it was a very exciting day.”

    Mickelson was two shots off the lead entering the final round of the 2001 U.S. Open. (Getty Images/Jamie Squire)

    Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Okla.
    54-hole position:
    6th, 2 shots behind Stewart Cink and Retief Goosen
    Final-round score: 75
    Finish: T7, 6 shots behind Retief Goosen (won playoff) and Mark Brooks
    What happened: Mickelson played the first eight holes in even par to remain at 3 under par for the tournament (Goosen and Brooks finished 72 holes tied at 4 under). He made five bogeys -- on Nos. 9, 10, 13, 15 and 17 -- and zero birdies over the next 10 holes, though. “I felt starting at 9 I could make birdies. (No. 9) through 13 all were very birdieable,” Mickelson said. “When I missed that fairway and made bogey, that certainly stung, as did the bogey on 10. That really took a lot of momentum out.”
    Notable quote: “It's certainly not the finish I would have liked, but out of playing 45 majors or so now, and not winning any, I'm tired of beating myself up time after time.”

    Mickelson reacts after missing a 6-foot birdie putt on the tournament's second-to-last hole. (Getty Images/David Cannon)

    Pinehurst Resort (No. 2), Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
    54-hole position:
    2nd, 1 shot behind Payne Stewart
    Final-round score: 70
    Finish: 2nd, 1 shot behind Stewart
    What happened: Mickelson was a moment’s notice from withdrawing, insisting that he would leave the tournament if his wife, Amy, went into labor with the couple’s first child. His caddie, Jim Mackay, carried a pager so Mickelson could be immediately notified. Two short misses kept Mickelson from winning, though. He missed an 8-foot par putt at No. 16 and 6-foot birdie putt at the 17th to give Stewart a one-shot lead at the final hole. “I putted very well, but 16 and 17 I pulled those just slightly and missed by an inch or two,” he said. His bogey on No. 16 was his only bogey of the day in an even-par 70. Stewart had to lay up after driving into the rough on the par-4 18th, but holed an 18-foot par putt to win by one.
    Notable quote: “I think that although it's a disappointing day … the fact that our first child is expected to come here in the next week or so is awfully exciting, and something that I'm looking forward to. It will be a bigger change of my life than had I won today.”

    Mickelson's chances of winning at Shinnecock Hills ended with a double-bogey at the par-5 16th. (Getty Images/David Cannon)

    Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.
    54-hole position:
    T3, 1 shot back
    Final-round score: 74
    Finish: T4, 4 shots behind Corey Pavin
    What happened: Mickelson made two bogeys and seven pars on the front nine to shoot 2-over 37. He was still 2 over par for the round when he reached the 544-yard, par-5 16th. A double-bogey 7 effectively ended his chances, though. He made birdie on the next hole – a 186-yard, par-3 – but finished with a bogey on Shinnecock Hills’ demanding finishing hole. This was Mickelson’s fifth U.S. Open start, and his first top-25.

    The Lefty Slam
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