Phil Mickelson and Sam Snead: 10 Painful Close Calls at the US Open
Phil Mickelson owns the record for most runner-up finishes at the US Open with five. He has won 39 PGA Tour events and four majors but has not been able to win a US Open.
Sam Snead has four second-place finishes along with a fifth-place finish in which he led on the 71st hole. He won seven majors and a record 82 PGA Tour events, but never the US Open.
Here is a look at the 10 most painful US Opens between them.
10: Phil Mickelson, Bethpage Black 2002
9: Sam Snead, Medinah 1949
Snead finished one stroke back of Cary Middlecoff. However Snead trailed by six shots entering the final round.
Middlecoff shot 67 and 69 in the middle-two rounds, which gave him a three-stroke lead over Clayton Heafner.
Middlecoff struggled in the final round, carding a 75, but his earlier work made up for it.
8: Sam Snead, Oakland Hills 1937
Snead, making his Open debut, entered the final round tied for second with Ralph Guldahl.
The leader, Ed Dudley, faded with a 76.
Guldahl shot a 69 to beat Snead by two strokes.
Snead may have been a rookie, but he won five times in 1937. Oakland Hills played over 7,000 yards. Snead was capable of hitting the ball over 300 yards—he was credited with a 360-yard drive in the 1937 West Virginia Open.
He had the perfect course and didn't take advantage of it.
7: Phil Mickelson, Pinehurst, 1999
Mickelson obviously played distracted—his wife Amy was due to give birth to their first child. He carried a beeper and prepared to withdraw to see his child born.
Mickelson held a one-shot lead over Payne Stewart on the back nine until he bogeyed the 16th. Stewart then promptly birdied the 17th and made an 18-foot par putt on the 18th to beat Mickelson by one stroke.
6: Phil Mickelson, Bethpage Black 2009
Mickelson was playing his last tournament before taking a break as his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Despite starting the final round six strokes back, Mickelson tied Lucas Glover for the lead after an eagle on the 13th.
However, Mickelson bogeyed the 15th and 17th and missed good chances for birdies.
Glover finished two strokes ahead of Mickelson.
5: Sam Snead, Oakmont 1953
Snead trailed Ben Hogan entering the final round by one stroke, but he had every reason to expect to win.
Hogan's legs had been permanently damaged from a car accident four year prior, so walking 36 holes was a grueling ordeal for him.
Snead, on the other hand, was in fantastic shape and a win would tie him with Hogan at seven majors.
However, Snead shot a terrible 76 and lost to Hogan by six strokes.
He failed again to win the US Open while Hogan won his record tying fourth.
4: Phil Mickelson, Shinnecock 2004
Mickelson entered Sunday trailing Retief Goosen by two strokes.
Mickelson had lead after 36 holes, but a 73 gave Goosen the lead. Mickelson caught Goosen on the 15th and with another birdie on the 16th took the lead.
However, Goosen also birdied 16 to tie it up.
Mickelson then imploded on the 17th hole, making a double bogey that included a three-putt from five feet.
Goosen would win by two strokes.
3: Sam Snead, St. Louis Country Club 1947
Snead was in an 18-hole playoff with Lew Worsham and up by two strokes on the 16th, which Worsham birdied.
Snead then bogeyed the 17th hole, tying the playoff.
On the 18th hole, Worsham requested a ruling as Snead was walking to tap in a short second putt for par. After determining that Snead was away, he missed the putt of under three feet.
Worsham made his par putt and won the Open.
2: Phil Mickelson, Winged Foot 2006
Mickelson was a par away from winning his third-straight major.
He decided to hit driver, which went way right. Then he tried to reach the green from his lie, but he hit a tree. His next shot ended up in a bunker. His blast went off the green.
From there he got up and down, for a double bogey.
Mickelson summed it up best: "I am such an idiot."
1: Sam Snead, Philadelphia Country Club, 1939
Yes, Snead tops Mickelson's collapse—Snead finished with a bogey followed by a triple bogey.
After the bogey on 17, Snead thought he needed birdie to win.
He hooked his drive on the par-five 18th, and, like Mickelson in 2006, tried to reach the green.
Snead topped his two-wood, and his ball found a fairway bunker. His next shot hit the lip and didn't clear. He got out on his next shot only to find a green-side bunker. He made it on the green but three-putted for a triple-bogey eight.
Snead wound up finishing in fifth place.
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