Mickelson misses second straight cut

Posted: July 07, 2007

AT&T National Notes

BETHESDA, Md. - Thanks to double-bogeys on two of the final three holes yesterday, Phil Mickelson stumbled to a 73 that sent him tumbling to 7-over par, 3 shots beyond the 36-hole cut line in the AT&T National.

Coming on the heels of the U.S. Open, in which Mickelson battled gnarly rough and a tender wrist, it was the first time since 2002 (in the A&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Buick Invitational) that the lefthander had missed back-to-back cuts.

"It happens," Mickelson said. "Guys have won majors after missing the cut. This year, I missed the cut and ended up winning the AT&T [Pebble Beach] the next week."

Mickelson's miscues at the 16th and the 18th, just as he was playing his way into the weekend, were especially ugly for a player of his caliber.

At the 16th, a par 5, he bombed a 325-yard drive, then went for the green from 257 yards out from a good lie in the first cut of rough. He hooked the ball wildly, and it nestled between a fence and a tree root. From there, Mickelson took a penalty drop, then chunked his chip shot.

At the 18th, needing to make birdie to have any chance of making the cut, Mickelson hooked his tee ball into the rough, then hit a squirrelly approach shot into a lake to the right of the green. Party over.

Mickelson blamed at least two of the errant shots on a 2-iron he had stuck in the bag, thinking he would need it in the British Open at Carnoustie in two weeks. It was the 2-iron he hit on the approach at 16.

"That 2-iron is not going to make the lineup for Carnoustie," he said. "It's out."

O'Hair rallies

Fighting a bad belly for a second day in a row, Sean O'Hair happily took his even-par 70 and headed for the hotel.

His two-round total of 141 - 1 over - left him 8 shots off the lead.

"No, I'm not going to hit any balls today," said O'Hair, dreading the thought of the usual post-round trip to the practice range.

The 24-year-old O'Hair, who lives in West Chester, was lucky to play at all. Ailing through his first round on Thursday, he retreated to the hotel for what he called the "worst night of my life."

"High fever, throwing up all night, nothing stayed down," he said.

O'Hair wasn't much better by the time he teed off yesterday at 8:25 a.m. On the seventh tee, O'Hair stepped away from the crowd and tossed his cookies.

As his morning round wore on, O'Hair began to feel better, as evidenced by his scorecard.

On the outward nine, he logged two bogeys: at the second hole, where he missed the green, then missed a six-footer to save par; and at the sixth, where he 3-putted from 21 feet. At the turn, he was 3 over for the tournament and flirting with the projected cut line.

As he began to feel better, O'Hair rebounded on the back nine, sinking a 39-footer for birdie at the par-3 13th and an 11-footer for another birdie at the 17th.

- Joe Logan

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