ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- The shot wasn't that bad, Phil Mickelson said, certainly nothing awful. For a lefty, it was simply hooked a bit more than he wanted.
But it is the sort of goofy thing that happens to Mickelson -- a tee shot into the Old Course Hotel that borders the famous Road Hole at the Old Course.
Mickelson, who was making a nice move up the Open leaderboard at the time, tried to hook his blind shot on the dogleg hole, but saw it fly into the hotel and land on a balcony. For the record, it came to rest outside of room 130, and someone -- perhaps a player in the tournament -- got themselves a nice Callaway golf ball as a souvenir.
The tee shot was out of bounds and led to a triple-bogey 7. Mickelson was 6-under par for Monday's final round at the time.
"The good news for me is that as I stood up there, I trusted the swing," said Mickelson, who finished with a 69 and ended the tournament at 7-under-par-281. "I hit a good, solid shot. It just over-drew a little bit. I was trying to draw it around the corner. It wasn't like it was a horrific shot. I just overturned it.
"Usually when I get in that situation, the miss is way left, and I like how I'm starting to hit it a little bit more solid."
Mickelson, 45, has gone two full years since his last victory at the 2013 Open, although he continues to find positives in his game and in the aspects that he is working on.
Like any player who finishes several shots back, he pointed to instances where he just couldn't get putts to drop. On Sunday, he opened his third round by hitting his tee shot into the burn and making bogey. A birdie there might have changed things considerably.
But Mickelson will settle for another finish outside the top 10 at St. Andrews, where his best was a tie for 11th in 2000. The next time he plays it in competition, he will be at least 50, as the Open won't return until at least 2020.
"I felt like I played well. I had a fun week," Mickelson said. "Family was here for two weeks, it was really enjoyable. I hit a lot of good shots and it doesn't feel far off. I'm just not quite shooting the numbers yet, but the game feels pretty good. I'm striking it better than I have in a long time.
"I just need to be a little bit patient right now as I try to get back to playing the way I know I can play."