La Jolla, USA, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – June 19, 2021): Phil Mickelson is seven strokes behind halfway through the US Open, but the six-time major champion says he’s playing well enough to make a weekend charge for a historic victory.
The 51-year-old southpaw birdied at the 18th par 5 on Friday to shoot a par 69 of two and stand on 144 after 36 holes at Torrey Pines.
“I played really well,” said Mickelson. “I’m looking forward to the weekend. I feel like I’m playing well enough to give it a try. I hope I’ll put it up tomorrow and do it.” Mickelson, who turned 51 on Wednesday, became the oldest winner in golf history last month when he won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
If his hometown hero Mickelson wins the US Open, an event where he has finished second in a record six times, he would end the Grand Slam career, a feat achieved only by Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.
“I didn’t have enough birdies today, but I’m hitting the ball well enough to get birdies this weekend,” said Mickelson.
“I was hitting a lot of good shots, a lot of fairways and was able to drive the ball aggressively for the most part.” Mickelson sank a seven-foot birdie putt on the second hole and rolled into a 12-foot birdie to open the last nine, but found a wagon path at the 11th par-3 and bogeyed.
After hitting about nine-foot putts at 15 and 16, Mickelson dropped his approach inches for the cut to 18 par 5 to set up a closing birdie.
“I was trying to make a run and come back to a level playing field,” said Mickelson. “The last few holes, I tried to get close to a few and kind of bypassed myself a few times.
“I gave myself some tough ups and downs, and ended up making the putts, which felt good.
The effort boosted Mickelson’s confidence in his chances on another major shocking weekend.
“I hit the ball really well and that made it a lot easier. I was able to play aggressively. I didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities I had, but I played a good solid ride, ”said Mickelson.
“I didn’t run today, but I’m playing well enough to have a run this weekend.” Mickelson is counting on tougher conditions for the weekend at the US Golf Association and is trying to cut the ranks below the 12 that go into the weekend.
“I know the course is going to get harder and harder. The pins are going to get harder and harder,” Mickelson said, his response being “try to be patient and pick my points.” Another San Diego area favorite, sixth-placed Xander Sc Chaudele shot 71 to share seventh. He admired the effort he saw from his playing partner Mickelson.
“He made the putts he needed to stay,” said ScHotele. “He could have easily let it slide with a few. Anything inside 10 feet, he was pretty automatic on the back.
“He did what he was supposed to do at the US Open, which was a tough day.”