Phil’s putting woes continue
By Bernie D'Amato under US Open
Lost art. ©USGA/Steven Gibbons.

Lost art. ©USGA/Steven Gibbons.

Phil Mickelson made a couple birdies early in his second round, but he could not keep the momentum going, and finished with a lackluster 73. At three-over for the tournament, Phil must get his putter going to get back into contention.

After the round, Mickelson said his putting troubles are affecting his mental game, “I feel like I’m playing well enough to win the U.S. Open, except for putting. And that’s not a — it’s kind of the same story. After I’ve 3-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.”

Phil used the claw grip to putt yesterday, and switched to a conventional grip to start his second round, “I felt like I identified what I was struggling with and I thought it was my eye line had gotten well over the golf ball. So as I moved the ball away and put my eyes over the ball instead of over the top, I felt like that’s how I putted last year, so I went back to my regular grip. I thought I was going to have a good putting day. I made the putt on 2 and 3 and I hit a really good putt on 5 that didn’t go and I thought I was going to have a good day. The 3-putt on 6 shook me a little bit. Then 8. After that I was really fighting it.”

After 34 putts, Phil made the cut, but he is not feeling like he can finish off the career grand slam this weekend, “I’m not overly optimistic. Obviously I’m not in good position, but more than that, I’m just — you know, you can’t fire at a lot of the pins. You got to make 25-, 30-footers, I’m just not doing it. I’m not going to give up, you just never know. I’ve had rounds that kind of clicked, like at Charlotte, where all of a sudden the putter clicked and I just saw the line, the ball started going in and went on a run. And tomorrow I need to shoot 6- or 7-under par to have a realistic chance.”

Maybe the putting will click in time for a special weekend, and if it does, Mickelson will have the entire gallery rooting for him to win his first U.S. Open.

–Bernie D’Amato