Mahan Masters Bridgestone

A stunning final round of 64 gave Hunter Mahan a first victory in a WGC event at the Bridgestone Invitational, and secured an automatic place in the Ryder Cup squad for the 28 year old American.

Mahan finished 123 under par and two strokes ahead of countryman Ryan Palmer in what was a thrilling and intriguing contest, and one that was notable for the lack of form from local star and world number one Tiger Woods.

Woods put in a performance that was far from impressive and one that in no way sets out his stall for the upcoming Ryder Cup competition, and his final position of joint 78th – out of 80 – stands as his worst finish in a professional tournament.

With Woods so far back in the field it was a prime opportunity for Phil Mickelson to move into the world number one slot, as all he needed to do in the circumstances was finish fourth. Tenth overnight heading into the final round, Mickelson stumbled on the last day and finished only 46th, leaving the struggling Woods at the head of the standings for at least one more tournament.

Mickelson expressed his disappointment at the turn of events, saying:

“It was a rough day if you couldn’t tell. I felt pretty good today. I felt good on the range, I hit some good shots. I felt like I was sharp and ready to go attack the golf course and make some birdies. And it just didn’t happen. I don’t know what to say. The round obviously got away. It didn’t feel like it was far off. But it turned out to be.”

The US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, is the next major and takes place next week, and it may be here that Mickelson finally manages to topple Woods.