Second spot leaves Lefty with bitter-sweet taste

Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:21pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson had bitter-sweet feelings about his second-place finish at the PGA Championship on Sunday, happy to be back in the title hunt after a disappointing season but frustrated to have fallen one stroke short at Valhalla.

The American left-hander had dueled with compatriot Rickie Fowler, Swede Henrik Stenson and eventual winner Rory McIlroy throughout Sunday's final round before a bogey at the par-four 16th effectively ended his bid.

"That was a costly bogey in the end," Mickelson told reporters after firing a five-under 66 at a rain-soaked Valhalla Golf Club to finish at 15-under 269, a shot behind the triumphant McIlroy.

"It was a fun day for me to get in the mix and a fun day for me to make some birdies and move up early so that I had a good chance on the back nine.

"I'm disappointed in the outcome. I thought that, had I been able to finish those last five, six holes strong, it could have totally flipped the way I look at this year," added Mickelson, who had been bidding for a sixth major victory.

A 42-times winner on the PGA Tour, Mickelson had not recorded a single top-10 this season in 17 starts heading into Valhalla, though he had been encouraged by a closing 62 at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

"Now I've got some regrouping to do these next three for four months," said the 44-year-old Californian. "I have some glaring areas in my game that I have to work on.

"I feel like if I'm able to continue to be strong and healthy and sharp in these areas of my game, I should have four or five good years that I really want to focus in on.   Continued...

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. reacts to saving par with a long putt on the 12th hole during the final round of the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, August 10, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder