Phil Mickelson made eight birdies in 17 holes at Royal Troon Golf Club and arrived at the last needing one more to shoot the first-ever 62 in a major.
He pulled out his driver, ready to take on the hole, until his caddie, Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay, took the club out of his hands and swapped it for a three-wood. They have an agreement that Bones has one veto per year, and he was using it.
‘Lefty’ would none-the-less play to the middle of the green in two, setting up a 25-foot putt for birdie. The American hit a good roll that was tracking towards the cup, but it lipped out and he signed for 63.
‘I want to shed a tear right now. That putt was a chance to do something historical…. It stings,’ he said.
The five-time major champion played a sublime round to lead The Open Championship, which he won at Muirfield in 2013.
‘Nothing will match that final round at Muirfield (66), but today was one of the best rounds I’ve ever played,’ he said.
South Africa’s Zander Lombard was in the last group out and took advantage of the unusually calm conditions to shoot two-under-par for a share of 22nd place. Louis Oosthuizen shot par, while Brandon Stone was one-over.