The 145th Open: Phil Mickelson narrowly misses making history

Phil Mickelson narrowly missed out on making history at Royal Troon yesterday during the 145th Open.

Mickelson was left heartbroken after coming within centimetres of becoming the first golfer ever to record a round of 62 in a major championship.

The 2013 winner of the Claret Jug went clear at the top of the leaderboard in the first round of The Open on Thursday after a stunning eight-under-par 63 at Royal Troon.

Mickelson could not have been closer to making history as his birdie putt at the last licked the cup, just refusing to drop.

“This is pretty heartbreaking because I had this ball right in the centre of the hole with a foot to go. It was perfect speed – I don’t understand how this happened,” said Mickelson. “It moved – I don’t understand that.”

“To have played this round and to have walked away feeling like I want to cry is a very awkward feeling.”

Instead Mickelson posted the 28th round of 63 in a major and is only the ninth player to record that score at the Open, with the last being Rory McIlroy in 2010.

Left-hander Mickelson’s effort was the lowest round at Troon, beating the 64 of Greg Norman in 1989 and Tiger Woods in 1997.

His flawless effort featured eight birdies, including at 16 and 17 in a fantastic late charge, and not a single dropped shot.

Mickelson revealed his lag putting wasn’t at its best following the Scottish Open but says he has been able to resolve his speed,” he said.

“The secret was just a bunch of practice on lag putting. At 14 I had a look at Lee Westwood’s putt right before me. In the middle there was a little bit of a tier where the ball would go up and it took his ball more to the right than I had suspected so I played further to my left so that it would take it on line before the last six feet [when] it would go back to the left, so to see his putt was very helpful.”

Ahead of his birdie putt on the 17th, Mickelson was well aware of the history he could make at the last, saying: “I knew walking up that if I were to roll this in I had a chance on 18th. On the 17th tee though that’s the last thing on my mind.

“It’s one of the hardest par threes I’ve ever played and I hit one of the best shots of the day, probably the best shot of the day. A pristine four iron right up the centre and to roll that in I knew that at 18th, I had a chance.”

Mickelson leads in the clubhouse by three strokes from fellow American Patrick Reed and Germany’s Martin Kaymer and the 46-year-old now feels that he is getting somewhere close to winning another major title again after a closing 66 in the Scottish Open on Sunday,