THREE-TIME CHAMPION Phil Mickelson and world number six Sergio Garcia were amongst a group of big names to miss the cut at the Masters on Friday.
Mickelson and Spain’s Garcia were joined by seven other members of the world’s top 25 in missing out on weekend action at Augusta National, plus four-time major winner Ernie Els of South Africa, England’s former world number one Luke Donald and last year’s runner-up Angel Cabrera of Argentina.
Zach Johnson (world number 10 and 2007 Masters champion), Dustin Johnson (world number 11), Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (14), Jason Dufner (16), South Africa’s 2011 champion Charl Schwartzel (17), Keegan Bradley (18), Frenchman Victor Dubuisson (21) and Webb Simpson (25) also missed the cut.
Mickelson last missed the cut at the Masters in 1997 but the 43-year-old American, who won the tournament in 2004, 2006 and 2010, had entered this year’s edition under an injury cloud.
But the world number five insisted his troublesome side muscle did not affect him in Georgia, instead blaming his exit on a lack of match practice.
“Physically I feel great,” Mickelson said, after shooting a one-over 73 on Friday to finish the tournament at five over. ”I haven’t had any problems. I’ve been able to play healthy. I haven’t had to think about it. But I’m not really sharp.”
A triple bogey at the par-three 12th essentially ended Mickelson’s chances of making the cut, which he missed by one shot.
Mickelson’s tee shot landed in the front bunker before the veteran hit consecutive chips across the green into other bunkers.
His fourth shot finally stopped on the green before he two-putted to finish with a triple-bogey six.
“There was no sand where I was at,” Mickelson said. ”I caught the liner of the bunker and bladed it across the green, and the same thing happened on the other side. It went back and forth, three bunkers, before I finally got it to stay on grass.”
Els has finished second twice at the Masters, while he claimed a share of 13th last year, but claimed ‘silly errors’ were to blame for his second-round 74 as he finished at five over.
“It’s been tough. Just made some silly errors here and there,” the South African veteran said.
“I’m actually driving it well, doing a lot of things well, but, yeah, just getting in my own way here and there. I missed some putts, missed some iron shots here and there. But it’s (Augusta) not playing that easy today.”
Donald joined Mickelson and Els on five over through 36 holes despite shooting a two-under 70 – with the Englishman’s 79 on Thursday, which included a two-stroke penalty, costing him a chance to play on the weekend.
But the 36-year-old was fairly pleased with the way he attacked Augusta during his second round.
“Well, yeah, seven over, I had to be a little bit more aggressive on certain holes. I did that for the most part,” Donald said. ”I made five birdies out there today. Really had a hard little grind today.
“I had a bunch of 1 putts and getting up and down when I needed to, just because I want to play here on the weekend.”