sport

Mickelson eyes 2015 challenge

Phil Mickelson is determined to challenge for the Open Championship at St Andrews in 12 months' time after failing to mount a creditable defence at Royal Liverpool.

The American - who memorably came through the field on the final day to win at Muirfield last year - finished strongly with a four-under-par 68 but his five-under aggregate left him well short of the leaders.

Mickelson said: "It is disappointing but it is also a good motivating factor for me.

"Knowing how great it felt to win this tournament makes me want to work harder and get ready for St Andrews next year. I can't think of a better site, or golf course, to win any tournament ever than St Andrews.

"To have the Open back there is a great opportunity and I will be working hard to try to get it back."

Mickelson arrived at Hoylake having not won a tournament since his success at Muirfield.

It has been an unusually lean spell for the 44-year-old left-hander but he is confident his touch is returning.

He said: "I thought I played well today. I didn't give any shots away and I shot what I thought I should shoot out there.

"It was a solid round of four under and it was a good way for me to get a little bit of confidence. I didn't score as well as I could but I played as well as I could, so my game's not too far off.

"But to win this tournament you need to not only play great golf but have a few breaks and some luck."

Mickelson remains outside the automatic qualification places for the United States' Ryder Cup team.

Should he not make it most would expect captain Tom Watson to name him as one of his wildcard picks, but Mickelson is determined to win a spot outright.

Mickelson, a member of every US team since 1995, said: "It does matter to me - it has been 19 years now where I have made it on my own.

"It is a record of consistency to play that well, to make it without being a pick, and I'd like to keep that streak going.

"I can't really control the points too much but if I play like I did this week at Akron (Bridgestone Invitational) and the (US) PGA (Championship) I'll be fine, I'll be on it.

"It will be beneficial for both me and Tom if I can do it on my own. If I don't get in on my own I don't know if I'll have played well enough this year to deserve a spot.

"You want players who are hot and playing well, and I need to step up and do that."