Torrey Pines notes: Phil Mickelson goes outside the fence and misses the cut

Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler all have the weekend off.

And the gallery groaned.

Three of the most popular players in the field missed the cut after Friday's second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Mickelson had positioned himself well, opening the tournament with a three-under-par 69 on the tougher South Course. However, he ballooned to a 76 on the North, finishing his round with three bogeys. His one-over 145 total was two strokes over the cut line.

Day had little chance to defend his title after coming down with flu late last week. He managed a two-over 74 on the South and missed the cut by three strokes.

Fowler was coming off a victory last week in Abu Dhabi, but he couldn't sustain the momentum. He shot one-under 71 on the South and missed the cut by a stroke.

Mickelson was going along fine on the back nine (his front) when his second shot at the par-five 18th went astray. The ball took several bounces on a cart path out of bounds before coming to rest under a fence post.

A string was used to determine that the ball was, indeed, in play — barely. But Mickelson had to go outside the fence in order to play the ball.

He turned his hybrid club to make contact, swinging more like one would in a backyard croquet match than at a PGA Tour event, and the ball found a bunker.

Mickelson could have avoided too much damage, but he then three-putted for a double bogey.

Even that was not disastrous. Going bogey-bogey-bogey on the final three holes was.

"That's not fun," Mickelson said. "I had a good round going and then had that double on 18 and a few other mistakes. Bogeys from the fairway with wedges. Just some dumb things. I don't really have a great explanation."

It is the third straight year that Mickelson will be absent over the weekend at Torrey Pines. He missed the cut last year and withdrew with a sore back in 2014.

Mickelson said he remained confident in his swing and encouraged with his game.

"I'll move on to Phoenix, spend this weekend working on it and try to it get dialed in," Mickelson said. "I really thought I was on the cusp of coming out here today and really lighting it up and it just didn't happen."

Day birdied the 18th hole, but his fate had been sealed earlier with three bogeys. Day missed Wednesday's pro-am with the flu symptoms that have bothered him for the better part of a week. He toughed it out the first two rounds while feeling pretty miserable.

"Don't get too close," Day said to a TV interviewer moments after blowing his nose.

Describing how he has felt this week, Day said, "I had a fever all day for four or five straight days and in the hospital on Tuesday twice. And it's just, it's hard, but that's just the way it is. So I've got to look forward to trying to get over this and getting on to" the next[tournament.

Fowler had little explanation for his lack of success.

"I didn't really get anything out of my game the last two days the way I played," Fowler said. "I just didn't score very well. I made a few birdies, but definitely need to make more. ... I had some good opportunities. [It] just seemed like the ball was a bit scared of the hole."

As disappointed as Fowler was, imagine the guy following his group all day dressed as a Fowler look-alike. His all-orange outfit for Sunday now figures to remain in the closet.

Ruffels makes the cut

Australian 17-year-old Ryan Ruffels didn't leave himself any room to spare, making the cut on the line in his first PGA Tour event.

Ruffels had matters well in hand before making three bogeys over his last eight holes on the South to finish with a one-over 73 for a two-round total of 143.

"Obviously, I let a few slip late in the round, which was disappointing," Ruffels said. "But that's all right. I guess if someone said you're going to make the cut this week in your first event, there's obviously a few nerves and it's fun to be out here on the weekend."

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on January 30, 2016, in the Sports section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Mickelson on the outside, looking in - FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN NOTES" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe