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Phil Mickelson hopes to make up some ground over the weekend. (Franklin/Getty Images)

Mickelson remains optimistic despite stumbling finish

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Phil Mickelson wasn't happy with those three bogeys in his final five holes Friday, but he is happy to still be so close to the lead. The course won't get easier, he believes, so his chances remain good.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Phil Mickelson couldn't be too disappointed. Not even after making three bogeys in his last five holes at Oakland Hills on Friday during the second round of the 90th PGA Championship.

Sure, his vaunted short game let him down, but the big lefthander is still within four strokes of the halfway lead held by J.B. Holmes, who is the only player in red numbers at the midway point of the season's final major. Mickelson's 73 left him in a logjam at 3 over.

Mickelson's round actually could have been better. He missed an 8-footer for birdie at the 11th hole and a 12-footer for another at No. 12 before finally getting back to even par for the tournament at the next. After he sank that 6-footer, though, his wedge began to fail him and bogeys reared their ugly head.

"I finally made one and then I just turned around and gave it right back on 14 and 15 with two bogeys," he said. "Within four going into the weekend, there's a lot of golf left out here, and the golf course is very difficult; so I think that it won't be overly difficult if you play well to make up some ground."

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That said, Mickelson is definitely not a fan of the way the way the rough around the greens is being raked away from the grain. He's also having trouble gauging his chips because the first bounce on the slick greens propels the ball forward so fast.

"I think that the raking of the grain of the grass away from the grain has made it very difficult," Mickelson explained. "And given the fact that the greens are firm and fast, and you can't control it, you can't control your spin, it is difficult to get up and down. I have really struggled around the greens."

He's not exactly sure how to fix things, either. "It's hard to say if my technique or feel is bad, or if just the shot is tough," he said. "It's hard to tell."

Even given his frustration with the way Oakland Hills has been set up, the big lefthander - who is seeking his second PGA Championship title and fourth major overall - refused to get caught up in a discussion of whether the course is fair or not.

"Look, I've got two more rounds to go," he said. "So I've got to play this thing two more times and I don't really want to go into whether or not it's fair or what have you. Everybody's got to play it. Everybody's got to play this course.

"I think that it gets more difficult in the afternoon, so the leaders are going to have a harder time tomorrow. As the greens get firmer or crustier and bumpier and the ball doesn't check and you can't hit it firm enough, all of the guys who are in the lead and the top half of the field will have a tougher course tomorrow afternoon."

He doesn't expect the leading score to go lower, either.

"If they water the greens and change the pins, you know, you can shoot under par," Mickelson said. "But right now I would guess that over par would be kind of the target and I just don't know how many."

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