After finishing 11th at the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis, Phil Mickelson’s return to some much-need touch couldn’t have been timed better ahead of the US Open at Pinehurst as he looks to finally shake his bridesmaid status at the event.
Golf’s most recognisable lefty has been sorely out of nick in 2014 by his usual sky-high standards, missing four cuts and failing to land a single top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.
His 11th place at the TPC Southwind course matched his season’s best finish at last month’s Wells Fargo Championship and there were encouraging signs for would-be backers that Phil will be back in business in north Carolina.
Ladbrokes have installed Mickelson as the third-favourite for the US Open at 16/1, behind joint market leaders Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy at 10s, following Tour triumphs apiece for the pair heading to Pinehurst.
Of course, the US Open has remained agonisingly out of Mickelson’s grasp, where he holds the record for the most runners-up finishes at the event, with six.
The most recent of those being last year, when the American went into the final 18 holes looking to protect a one-shot lead only for his round to begin to unravel at the 13th, eventually allowing Justin Rose to sneak past him to take the trophy.
However, Mickelson followed that disappointment by winning the British Open for the first time and now he has the added carrot of completing the career Grand Slam dangling in north Carolina.
And the fact this year’s US Open is to be played out on Pinehurst’s famous No.2 course couldn’t be a bigger boon to his chances of making history on Fathers Day, which also happens to be his birthday.
Being the best scrambler on the PGA Tour, Pinehurst No 2 is perfectly set up for risk-and-reward golf, with birdies available to those prepared to be bold off the tees and sure of their abilities to let their short game do the rest.
“I’m excited,” Mickelson said. “I love the golf course.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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