Phil Mickelson: Lefty Primed for Weekend Push After Strong 2nd Round

Chris HummerAnalyst IAugust 11, 2012

KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 10:  Phil Mickelson of the United States hits off the 15th tee during Round Two of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 10, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

After a 1-under 71, Phil Mickelson is primed for a run to the top of the leaderboard over the weekend.

After he struggled to even find a single fairway in the calm conditions on Thursday, Mickelson rebounded on Friday despite wind gusts of 25-30 miles per hour.

He still didn't hit the ball all of that well—he's only hit 13 greens and 13 fairways over the first two days—but he managed to keep it on the course, unlike Thursday.

Plus, he wasn’t overly aggressive. He played to his spots and let his short game do the work.

And boy has it been working.

Mickelson has always had an amazing skill around the greens. He hits his wedges better than anyone on tour, and has the imagination to pull off shots many wouldn't even attempt. He's also been a strong putter throughout his career—though—to be fair, he's had his up and downs with the short stick.

But on Thursday and Friday we saw Phil's short game at its magical best.

He's gotten up and down from some insane lies, from bunkers that are questionable in their bunker status and has made putts from all over the greens.

Actually, even that doesn't do his two days on the green justice—he's been extraordinary. He's one-putted 22 out of his 36 holes thus far, which is a total most professionals won’t even approach in four days.

These stats helped him stay in shouting distance on Thursday when he salvaged a 1-over 73, despite playing from off of the course more than he did on it.

Then on Friday, he started to get his irons and driver going, and it helped him finish at even-par for the first two days.

That total will have him within striking distance heading into the weekend, and with the way Mickelson is playing around the greens, the leaders need to watch out.

On Friday, he showed signs of striking the ball with his usual gusto, and if he combines that with his short game play from the first two days, he'll be in contention come Sunday.

And with a player like Lefty, anything can happen from there.