Mickelson struggles, but won't write himself off
By Stan Awtrey, PGA.com Contributor
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Phil Mickelson would be considered a longshot to pick up his sixth major championship this weekend. But at least he’ll be around for the final two rounds.
Mickelson struggled for the second straight day on Friday. He wound up with his second straight 71 and will begin the weekend at 2-over 142, nine shots behind Friday afternoon leader Adam Scott. He avoided the double bogeys – he had two on Thursday – but made only one birdie all day.
“I struggled these first two days for sure,” he said. “Playing with Adam and Justin (Rose), who played really terrific golf, made it look even worse.”
Mickelson, who came from behind last month to win the Open Championship at Muirfield, wasn’t ready to write off a repeat performance, though.
“I think that somebody on the weekend, somebody tomorrow, is going to go out and shoot a low round. It’s out there,” Mickelson said. “I think that there is room and opportunity for guys to come from behind and get right in the mix.”
Statistically, his first two rounds were similar. He hit eight fairways on Thursday and nine on Friday. He hit 10 greens in regulation both days. But he needed 29 putts on Friday, six more than in the first round.
“I’m not sure if I was over-reading them, because they might have been slower with the water or it just visually looked like they break more to me,” he said.
In general, he saw it as an opportunity that was wasted.
“I thought today was a great day for players who are playing well to separate themselves,” he said. “What I found was that the holes that were birdie holes actually played easier because of the rain by softening the greens.
“The holes that were really hard, like 17 and 18, played even harder,” he explained. “Guys that played well, like Adam and Justin, gives them a chance to play and separate themselves from the players who aren’t actually playing well, like myself.”