Triple-bogey on 18 dooms Mickelson in Round 3

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson spent his final day as a 48-year-old disappointed at the U.S. Open once again.

Mickelson, who turns 49 on Sunday, failed to make a move in the third round of the 119th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach on Saturday, shooting a 4-over par 75 to fall out of contention for a victory in the major championship that has eluded him throughout his storied career.

"Yeah, certainly I'm disappointed," Mickelson said. "I felt like I played a lot better than I'm scoring and certainly didn't finish this round very well."

Mickelson, who needs a U.S. Open title to complete the career Grand Slam, had hope that he might finally break through after firing a 2-under 69 on Friday to move back into the mix.

He didn't play his way out of contention on the front nine on Saturday, playing bogey-free golf with a birdie on the par-5 sixth hole. But he also missed a few opportunities to do more.

Things fell apart after Mickelson made the turn. He had bogeys on Nos. 11, 14 and 17 and closed with a triple-bogey 8 on the 18th.

"I'll come out tomorrow and play as well as I can," Mickelson said. "But today was the day I needed to go low. I played well enough to do it. I had many opportunities. Didn't putt well. Didn't get them to go in. I left them short the whole time and then I finished poorly."

Mickelson hit his drive into the Pacific Ocean on the 18th hole and then two more shots into bunkers before reaching the green. He still received a standing ovation from fans sitting in the grandstands behind the green.

"I couldn't get there [off the tee on 18]," Mickelson said. "I just made bogey on 17. And if I hit a good drive, I'd be able to reach it. And really it was a test for me.

"I've been working on my driver. I've actually driven the ball pretty well this week. I've had a nice turn of events with the driver. I'm hitting the ball a lot straighter, and it was really a good test for me on that last drive there. And I'm not quite there, didn't pass that last test."

Before his 28th start in the U.S. Open, Mickelson, who has 45 PGA Tour victories, including five major championships, acknowledged that he probably had two more chances to win a U.S. Open -- at Pebble Beach this week and Winged Foot next year. He turns 50 two days before the U.S. Open begins in Mamaroneck, New York, in 2020.

After criticizing the USGA mightily in the past for what he said were over-challenging and unfair setups at previous U.S. Opens, Mickelson praised the sport's governing body for the playing conditions at Pebble Beach.

"I'm really happy that I had this chance, this opportunity this week," Mickelson said. "I've got to hand it to the USGA for doing a great setup. It's the best I've ever seen, and it's identifying the best players. It's making the players the story.

"I think the biggest thing was pin placements; instead of putting them right on the edges they were in good spots, rewarding great shots. I can't say enough great things about how this week has gone so far, and I'm appreciative to the effort they've put in and for the opportunity that I had this week."