ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson's final-round surge at the British Open came to a halt when a wild tee shot at the 17th hole ended with his ball on the balcony of a room at the Old Course Hotel on Monday.
The American, who had picked up six shots and had closed to within two of the three leaders, sent his drive right, landing it on top of the hotel's conservatory before it bounced, rattled around like a pinball, and came to rest on the balcony.
Had it not been out of bounds, the 45-year-old American, known for his wizardry with the chipper, might have gone into the luxury hotel alongside the fairway to play his ball.
As it was, he had to take a new ball and ended up with a round-wrecking triple-bogey seven on the infamous par-four Road Hole, instantly halving the ground he had made up in easy scoring conditions.
"I've tried hitting shots from some crazy places," Mickelson told reporters. "I don't know if I would have climbed up to do that, I don't know.
"It wasn't like it was an horrific shot, I just overturned it. I don't feel unlucky on it. I think that it's a very fair test, and you hit good shots, you get rewarded, and you hit shots like I did on a few holes, you get penalised."
Mickelson had been flying and when he rolled in a 35-footer on the 15th green he looked to be putting himself right in the mix for a second British Open having won two years ago at Muirfield.
With rain starting to fall his mood was hardly helped when a 25-foot birdie attempt on the last hole lipped out and he tapped in for a three-under 69 to finish seven under.
"I hit a lot of good shots, and it doesn't feel far off," he said after his best round of the tournament.
"I'm just not quite shooting the numbers yet, but the game feels pretty good."
(editing by Justin Palmer)
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