AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Triple champion Phil Mickelson led a host of big names to miss the cut at the Masters on Friday as the American failed to advance to the third round at Augusta National for the first time in 17 years.
Former winners Charl Schwartzel (2011), Zach Johnson (2007), Angel Cabrera (2009) and Trevor Immelman (2008) also failed to qualify for the final two rounds.
U.S. PGA champion Jason Dufner, former world number one Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell and Keegan Bradley were other victims of the cut.
World number nine Rory McIlroy went through to the weekend by the skin of his teeth after sinking a six-foot par-saving putt at the 18th for a 77 and a four-over tally of 148.
Left-hander Mickelson tripled-bogeyed the tricky par-three 12th on the way to a one-over 73, missing out by one stroke on 149.
The world number five was one of the pre-tournament favorites heading into the opening major of the year but never recovered enough ground after opening with a 76 that included two sevens on a layout running fast and firm.
”I didn’t play great, I didn’t play bad,“ Mickelson told reporters. ”I just had one bad hole there at 12 and I keep making these triple bogeys, they’re tough to overcome.
”The golf course was awesome today and I felt there were some birdies out there. The greens were receptive and the wind is what made it tricky.
“I thought it was a really fun challenge.”
Mickelson missed two recent tournaments because of a bad back and a pulled abdominal muscle and the British Open champion said he felt under-cooked going into the Masters.
“Physically I feel great and I haven’t had any problems ... but I‘m not really sharp,” said the 43-year-old.
”I actually played reasonably well for a majority of the holes and then the ones that I let slide I ended up making a big number.
“That’s the kind of stuff when you’re playing tournament golf and you’re mentally sharp you don’t do. What happened at 12 was I hit it in the front bunker and there was no sand where I was,” added Mickelson.
“I 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.”
Asked if he would watch the golf on television from his home in California over the weekend, Mickelson replied: “Yeah I probably will. It’s kind of going to be my punishment”.
Editing by Peter Rutherford nL2N0N3266