Phil Mickelson got off to a fantastic start at the Wells Fargo Championship, opening with a five-under 67 on Thursday. He credited his fine play to his putter. Well, it was the opposite story for Friday’s second round at Quail Hollow Club.
Mickelson shot a three-over 75, saying he couldn’t make anything on the greens.
“I can’t believe the difference in putting from yesterday to today,” said Phil after his round. “Yesterday I saw every ball go in the hole, and today, I couldn’t get ’em to fall and was three-putting, which is funny because the greens today were so perfect.
“Getting off to an early start and not having very few people in front of us, (the greens) were just beautiful. You could really make ’em. I struggled today. I don’t have any great reason. It didn’t feel far off. I felt like I hit some decent shots, there were one or two bad ones, but other than that, I thought it was pretty good. I just struggled getting the ball in the hole.”
Phil added he struggled with reading the greens.
“I couldn’t read ’em right,” he said. “When I thought I hit a good putt, it broke, and when I played for break, it didn’t. I was just a little off on the greens today. I just didn’t judge them right.”
Mickelson made six bogeys and three birdies. He needed 34 putts on Friday, as opposed to only 26 the day prior.
To make matters worse, Phil still can’t get a tee time at Pinehurst No. 2, the site of this June’s U.S. Open (which I played yesterday — and the EVP of the resort said they’d be happy to accommodate Phil. Clearly, he doesn’t know the right people!).
“I’ve tried to get down there three times now, and the course has been booked all three times,” Mickelson said Wednesday. “So I don’t know when I’ll get down there.”
Jonas Blixt played No. 2 on Tuesday and got around without trouble. Phil, who is often referred to as a “man of the people,” prefers to take his time by himself (or with his caddie) and study the golf course, ideally when there aren’t many others around.
Mickelson said he’d just wait until the course was closed.
“I could probably get a tee time and join a group, yeah, if guys would let me join ’em, but it’s not — I need to get on the golf course, and I’ll just wait,” he said on Friday.
“It will close up probably in May. I was just surprised at how much play there is right now, because, you know, they’re booked — I was able to get a tee time at 2:10 one day, which just didn’t make sense. I’m not going to get anything done in a few hours.”
Well, I’ll be writing a post up shortly (which means later tonight or tomorrow) about my experience at No. 2 and what Phil missed.
Now, of course, the U.S. Open in ’99 at Pinehurst was the one where Payne Stewart famously won after he drained a 15-footer on the final hole to beat a young, beeper-toting Mickelson — it was the first of Phil’s six runner-up finishes at this major championship.
Phil seeking redemption for the loss in ’99, along with the five other ones that slipped through his fingers, will surely be the main storyline heading into the season’s second major, particularly with Tiger Woods out of the picture due to his recent back surgery.
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)