PEBBLE BEACH (REUTERS) - Tiger Woods made another awful start before turning on the afterburners to shoot two-under 69 in the final round at the US Open at Pebble Beach on Sunday (June 16).
It was too little, too late, but the American star left the oceanside course with some positive vibes after a frustrating week at the scene of his greatest performance.
"Again, got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off," said Woods, who bogeyed four of the first six holes, the easiest stretch on the course, a day after bogeying two of the first three.
He birdied six holes thereafter on Sunday to finish at two-under 282.
Woods never came close all week to replicating his 15-stroke record runaway victory of 2000, not that it was realistic at age 43 to expect it.
The Masters champion now turns his attention to next month's British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, the final Major of the season.
"I've never been up to Portrush, and I'm looking forward to getting up there and taking a look at the golf course and trying to figure it out," said the 15-time Major champion.
While Woods already has three US Open titles under his belt, Phil Mickelson is still seeking his first in a championship that has caused him heartache like no other.
The six-time runner-up, who needs a victory to complete the career Grand Slam of winning all four of the sport's Majors, shot 72 to finish at four-over 288 on his 49th birthday.
He had arrived with high hopes at a course where he has won the annual PGA Tour event five times, but was never a factor all week.
That did not stop the perennial crowd favourite from getting plenty of love from the galleries, who sang "Happy Birthday" at various stages of the final round.
"I thought this was a really good chance for me," Mickelson said. "I just didn't putt my best, didn't chip my best. I actually played okay tee to green."
The five-time Major champion was philosophical about never winning his national Open.
"Dealing with losing in this game is a huge thing because even the best, the greatest winners, win such a small percentage of the time," he said.
"But I have had so many special moments here at Pebble Beach. This was my first event as a pro, 1992, here."
Mickelson also turned his thoughts to the British Open.
"I played Portrush one time with my dad and it was a special, fun golf course," he said. "It's been a while so I don't remember a lot of the details and subtleties of it."