Phil Mickelson at US Open 2015: Saturday Leaderboard Score and Twitter Reaction

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2015

UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA - JUNE 20:  Phil Mickelson of the United States tosses his golf ball to his caddie Jim Mackay on the first green during the third round of the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay on June 20, 2015 in University Place, Washington.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson needed a spectacular round to get back into the 2015 U.S. Open on Saturday. Lefty was unable to muster the magic at Chambers Bay, carding nine bogeys en route to a seven-over 77 to shoot himself out of a chance to complete the career Grand Slam.

Mickelson now stands at 10 over par for the championship that has eluded him to the tune of an unmatched six runner-up finishes. Perhaps the Hall of Famer would have taken that result again if he'd known he'd be this far out of contention entering the final round in University Place, Washington.

""As bad as my score was, I hit a lot of good shots that ended up as bogeys," Mickelson said, according toΒ Golf Digest's Dave Shedloski.

Luke Kerr-Dineen of USA Today praised how Mickelson's move through the ball looked in the early going:

Luke Kerr-Dineen @LukeKerrDineen

It's not textbook, but there really is so much to appreciate about Phil Mickelson's golf swing. Wind-unwind. Powerful, simple, rhythmic.

That's about the only solace Mickelson could take in what was an adventurous ball-striking showcase in the worst way.

PGA Tour rankings of 169th in greens in regulation and 182nd in proximity to the hole entering this event highlighted the problems Mickelson has had with his irons this season. Those issues surfaced yet again Saturday, as Mickelson managed to hit just six of 18 greens and only one on the front nine.

The first nine holes were when Mickelson really lost his way, dropping five shots without a birdie to go out in 40. Quite a departure from the beginning of the tournament. Mickelson birdied one third of his opening nine holes in the first round.

Matt York/Associated Press

"Phil the Thrill" made the turn and lived up to his famous moniker not long thereafter, draining a long birdie putt at the par-four 11th to give the crowd something to cheer about.

Other than a birdie later at the shortened par-three 17th, there wasn't much for Mickelson to celebrate, and he made a disappointing six at the par-five closing hole.

Bob Harig of ESPN.com reacted to Mickelson's woeful outing:

Bob Harig @BobHarig

Tough day for Phil. Round of 77 to fall to 10 over. He'll have to look to Oakmont now for that career Grand Slam

Prior to the third round, Mickelson knew he had to try to make something happen, per the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta:

I'll have to come out tomorrow (Saturday) and get a good game plan and figure out how to shoot something in the mid-60s and get back in it. It's very difficult for anyone to run away with it.

But I'm going to have to hopefully get conditions in the morning that are a little bit easier and then progressively get more difficult for the leaders, because that’s really my only chance to catch up.

Although he did manage to find 10 of 14 fairways, Mickelson simply wasn't sharp enough to fire at flags and wound up somewhere around 10 strokes off his intended target score.

Golf Channel's Angela Hamann had a fitting reaction:

Angela Garcia @TheAngelaAkins

Yep, it wasn't meant to be for Phil Mickelson this year. #USOpen #ChambersBay

The following anecdote from ESPN.com's Jason Sobel foreshadowed what Saturday's action fostered:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Don't think there's a new generation leading golf? Try this: Final pairing of Spieth and Reed combined is the same age as Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson has become an afterthought just as the other immensely popular American golfer of his generation in Tiger Woods, though at least Lefty made the cut. This does look to be Jordan Spieth's rise to superstardom, and Mickelson, having just turned 45, has to figure out a way to become more consistent.

The next major stop is St Andrews for the Open Championship. Lefty won the Claret Jug in 2013 and has the type of length and imaginative game to thrive on the links.

Chambers Bay has claimed a lot of golfers this week. Being a controversial, brand-new U.S. Open venue, it's unwise to dismiss Mickelson even after his discouraging Saturday performance. He had to be aggressive to try and make a big move, but he simply wasn't clicking well enough in any area of his game.

Considering he just came off a tie for third in Memphis and finished second in his prior two major starts, Mickelson should do his best to block out this U.S. Open letdown, move forward and finish 2015 strong.


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