Mickelson's short game magic lifts him at Wells Fargo
By Andrew Both
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Veteran Phil Mickelson used his short game magic to claw his way within three strokes of halfway leader Andrew Loupe after the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow on Friday.
On a day when defending champion Rory McIlroy roared into contention before a bogey-bogey finish left him trailing by six, Mickelson hit only nine greens in regulation but used his vaunted touch around the greens to card a two-under-par 70.
Mickelson, a five-times major champion who needs only to win the U.S. Open next month to complete the elusive career Grand Slam, got up-and-down to save par eight times, his lone bogey coming at his final hole, where he drove into a fairway bunker.
"I scrapped it around," said Mickelson, adding that poor driving, rather than suspect iron play, had put him in danger of dropping shots.
"My short game was sharp. I hit a lot of good iron shots, but I had to play for par a little too many times because I didn't put it in play off the tee," he said.
"I've been driving the ball really well heading into this week, so I'm a little disappointed with the driver."
Mickelson above all covets a U.S. Open championship and he is using this week as the start of his serious preparation for the June event at Oakmont outside Pittsburgh.
He is a record six-times Open runner-up, with several of those second-placings coming in heartbreaking fashion. Continued...