At Open, Mickelson's putter goes south

Posted: June 15, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. – Putting continues to be a source of frustration for Phil Mickelson at the U.S. Open, and he admitted Friday that it is affecting his overall play.

Mickelson, a six-time runner-up in the Open, saw a promising start to his second round go sour, and his 3-over-par round of 73 left him at 143 and far off the blistering pace set by Martin Kaymer. The 34 putts he needed on the day said it all.

"I feel like I'm playing well enough to win except for putting," he said. "It's kind of the same story. After I've three-putted three or four times, I kind of lose my focus on the other stuff. It really affects my ability to concentrate, and my momentum and energy. It's a frustrating time because I feel like the other parts of my game are there."

Mickelson worked on the "claw" putting grip entering the Open and used it Thursday. He went back to his conventional grip Friday and rolled in birdie putts on the second and third holes. But he wouldn't make another one all day.

Oops!

Hunter Mahan, who played in the final group on the last day of the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and playing partner Jamie Donaldson were each penalized 2 strokes for hitting the wrong ball on their ninth hole - the 18th at Pinehurst No. 2.

John Wood, Mahan's caddie, said he walked to the left side of the fairway to what he believed was Mahan's ball. It wasn't until Mahan and Donaldson got to the green that they realized mistakes had been made.

"Jamie looked at the ball," Wood said. "Hunter's ball was closer, but when we got there Jamie's ball was closer, and that's when we realized what happened. You can't imagine yourself doing something colossally as stupid as that, but I did it."

Mahan wound up with a 72 and a 146 total, missing the cut by 1 stroke. Donaldson shot an 81 for 151.

"Just got to pay more attention," Mahan said.

Rising star

Brendon Todd has made sure his second go-round on the PGA Tour is a successful one, with a victory at the Byron Nelson Classic and top-10 finishes in his next two events boosting him to rising-star status.

Now, he is hoping that his recent fine play will help him on the weekend of his first career major, the U.S. Open, where he can be found in second place behind only Martin Kaymer.

"Now that I have played so well over the last month, I'm a little more comfortable than I was before," said Todd, who lost his PGA Tour card in 2009 after one season. "I think it's going to feel pretty similar, and if I can just go out there and remain calm, I think I'm going to play really well."

See ya later

The 36-hole cut settled at 5-over 145, meaning 67 contestants will play on the weekend. Masters champion Bubba Watson, reigning PGA champ Jason Dufner, and former world No. 1 Luke Donald each missed the cut by one shot.

Matthew Fitzpatrick, the current U.S. Amateur champion, fired a 73 for a 144 total and will be the only amateur competing in the final two rounds.

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