It has now been five straight tournaments that Phil Mickelson has had the opportunity to take over the No. 1 golfer in the world ranking from Tiger Woods. The fifth came this weekend at the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. All Mickelson needed to do was either win the tournament or finish second. The first opportunity he had came at the Colonial back in May where he missed the cut.
Now, Mickelson will have to wait until next weekend at St. Andrews to accomplish this feat after missing the cut on Friday. In the second round under dreary conditions, Mickelson hit three tee shots on the 18th hole halfway through the round to wind up with a quintuple-bogey 9. Ironically, he did have an opportunity to play the second drive on the hole that caused his collapse and ultimately not being around for the weekend.
“It wasn’t too bad of a day except for two swings,” Mickelson said. “Those four penalty strokes hurt the round quite a bit.”
After finally landing a successful drive on the 18th, Mickelson realized after walking down the fairway that his second ball was plugged close to the bank on a hole which has water all the way down the left side. He could have played the ball and ultimately hacked it out with a wedge. But he failed to declare his third shot a provisional and was forced to play that ball.
“The club felt like it slipped a little bit on the first one,” he said. “The second one felt better. I had to take 3-wood out and aim to the right on the third.”
After shooting a nine on the 18th, Mickelson would not be able to make up ground and finished with a 3-over 74, missing the cut by just one shot. The top 65 and ties are the only one’s to make the cut on the European Tour. Now, he will at least get a little extra practice time for the 2010 British Open in his quest to take over the No. 1 ranking, a goal he says he hasn’t spent much time dwelling on.
“I haven’t thought about that,” Mickelson said. “I’m trying to get ready for the British Open and get my game sharp. And these first two days gave me the opportunity to see where it needs some work.”
Darren Clarke sits atop the leaderboard after a nearly flawless second round. He chipped in for a birdie on the 16th and nailed a few 20-foot birdie putts in route to his 4-under 67. Clarke has a four shot lead heading into Saturday’s third round and has his odds set at 3/2, according to PGA sportsbooks, to win the 2010 Barclays Scottish Open.