Listening to Phil Mickelson following an opening-round, 2-over 74 on Thursday in the first round of the Open Championship, you could tell he was a frustrated man.
That score, the defending Open Champion insisted, was not indicative of how well he struck the ball. He just couldn't get the putts to drop.
In a difficult, stiff wind on Friday, Mickelson was four shots better with an impressive 2-under 70 that pulled him to even par for the tournament with 36 holes to go.
If the wind hangs around at Royal Liverpool the rest of the day -- and it looks like it will -- there's a chance Mickelson could be within a handful of the lead at day's end. South Africa's George Coetzee shot an early 69 and has the early clubhouse lead at 5 under.
Friday's round was a move in the right direction for Mickelson, who is still looking for his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this season.
Mickelson responded to an early bogey on No. 3 with a birdie at No. 4 and an eagle on No. 5. He bogeyed No. 8 and made the turn at 1-under 34.
His inward nine was made up of a string of eight consecutive pars before a closing birdie.