SPRINGFIELD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson made a “horrific” start to the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday but recovered to make the cut with nothing to spare, while Rory McIlroy’s bogey at the last saw him miss out by one stroke.
Mickelson sliced his tee shot out-of-bounds at the par-four first, his ball landing on the adjacent Shunpike Road and bouncing onto another street.
“Just a total mental block on that first hole. It was just horrific,” said Mickelson, who teed up again and in the end was fortunate to salvage a triple-bogey seven after almost hitting his approach shot out-of-bounds too.
“I think in the history of the PGA Championship, that’s the worst start of any player’s round. I’d have to look that up.”
Mickelson looked stunned as he trudged to the second tee but settled down and had only one further blemish, a bogey at the 16th, before closing with a birdie at the par-five 18th to make the cut with nothing to spare.
“I was able to fight back and be patient, start to make a birdie here or there,” the British Open runner-up said after shooting a 70 for one-over 141, 10 strokes behind leaders Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb.
“I actually hit a lot of good shots and missed on a lot good opportunities in the middle of the round.”
McIlroy, who played with Mickelson, messed up the final hole to miss the cut for the first time in eight starts at the PGA Championship.
“I’ve hit the ball really well this week and I‘m walking away not playing the weekend. It’s really disheartening,” said the world number four.
McIlroy, who continues to struggle on the greens, also missed the cut at the U.S. Open and tied for 10th at the Masters and for fifth at the British Open.
The Northern Irishman’s last major win came at the 2014 PGA Championship in Kentucky.
”I just need to figure out what to do on the greens. I need to have a long hard think about that.
“I think if you had to give anyone else in this field my tee shots this week, they would have been up near the top of the leaderboard. It just shows you how bad I was around the greens.”
“You watch him with a driver and it’s the sweetest thing you can imagine,” he said. “He’s just so tentative through impact (with his putter). He’s just not confident. You can just tell.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford