Mickelson in the mix despite putting woes

by 24USATVNov. 14, 2020, 6 a.m. 24
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At the age of 50, Phil Mickelson is in contention at the Masters. He completed his second round on Friday and finished at 5-under par, which is just four strokes behind leaders Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Abraham Ancer and Cameron Smith.

But even though Mickelson shot a 2-under 70 in the second round, the three-time Masters champion came away chafed about his putting. "I’m striking the ball exceptional, and I’m putting horrific," Mickelson said. "If I get that fixed this weekend, I’m going to make a run."

Mickelson said he is "driving like a stallion." On the par-4 ninth hole, he carried the ball over the trees on the left and down to the bottom of the fairway. He left himself only a pitching wedge to the par-4 14th and the par-4 17th holes.

"I’m very frustrated and disappointed with the way I’ve putted, I’ve let eight, nine 10 shots [get away] on the green, and that’s pathetic," said Mickelson. "I’m going to fix that and hopefully make a run. You can’t make those mistakes, give those shots up in this field, in this competition.

"But we’ve got 36 more holes, and I’m playing well enough. I struck it well enough despite probably being last in the field in putting. But I’m going to get that fixed for [Saturday’s] round."

Actually, Mickelson was 82nd in the 94-man field in putting for the second round. He even was ahead of second-round leader Dustin Johnson. But no matter. He still was bad on the greens. On the other hand, he will return for the third round on Saturday after the rest of the field completes the second round, which was delayed because of darkness.

"We’re just appreciative that we have a chance to play for the Masters and the green jacket," Mickelson said. "We’re appreciative of the extra work. I mean, it’s five, ten times harder to put this tournament on this year than it has been in the past. The club has worked very hard to put on this event, and we’re all very appreciative.

"It doesn’t matter if I’m teeing off on 10, 12, rain delays, whatever. We get a chance to compete for the green jacket, and we’re all very appreciative of that."

Pre-tournament favorite Bryson DeChambeau was 1-over par for the tournament and 3-over par for his second round when play was suspended on Friday. That left him at 1-over through 12 holes at a time when the cut line to the low 50 and ties was at even par.

DeChambeau took a triple bogey 7 third hole after his wayward tee shot on the driveable par 4 was lost in the heavy rough short and left of the green. DeChambeau did not speak to the media after his round.

Playing partner Jon Rahm, who is 5-under through 12 holes of his second round and will be around on the weekend, was involved in searching for DeChambeau’s ball.

"We were all confident it was pretty buried, and it was going to be hard to find," Rahm said. "He had to re-tee, and I know that affected him a little bit because he didn’t play his best golf after that."

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