Mickelson makes his move

Home

A 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th helped Phil Mickelson move into contention at the weather-affected Phoenix Open on Saturday.

A 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th helped Phil Mickelson move into contention at the weather-affected Phoenix Open on Saturday.

Mickelson sank the putt in front of 20 000 fans on the 16th green, right after a fan had screamed: “Tiger would make it!”

“It’s Saturday of the Phoenix Open. It’s always fun,” Mickelson said.

“There’s a lot of people out here. I don’t think there’s a shot I wanted to make more, other than a major championship, than that putt on 16. I wanted to make that so bad.”

Mickelson started his second round slowly, but birdied six of his last 11 holes for a 6-under 65. With 2 victories on this course in 1996 and 2005 to his credit, the left-hander will be eager to add to his tally. He’ll have to wait till Monday to find out, though, as major frost delays have caused the tournament to run over into a fifth day. As Mickelson points out, there’s still a lot that can happen.

“There’s a lot of golf left,” Mickelson said. “Even though it’s Saturday – it feels like it’s the third round – but we’ve only played two, so we’re halfway through and to be within a few shots, it’s where everybody is trying to get to.”

Mickelson trails leader Tommy Gainey by four shots, who followed up his career-best 63 on Friday with a 65 on Saturday.

“My ball-striking is really good,” Gainey said. “I hit a couple bad shots today, but they (weren’t) bad enough to get in any trouble. I always think that’s a good thing, because as we all know, golf is a game of misses, so my misses today were pretty good.”

Mark Wilson was one shot behind Gainey, while Bill Haas is a further shot behind. Chris Couch is a further shot back, three shots back and one ahead of Mickelson and talented youngster Rickie Fowler.

Fowler had a brilliant back-nine on Saturday, tying the course record with a 7-under 29. Highlights of his round included a eagle at the par-5 13th after a 329-yard drive, a 220-yard, 5-iron approach and a 8-foot birdie putt. He also birdied the 16th after nearly making a hole-in-one.

“I saw some of the scoreboards and knew that I was around the cut line early on and basically had to step on the gas and get going,” said Fowler.

The third round only started late on Saturday afternoon, with nearly half of the field still to start their rounds. Play will wrap up on Monday.

Latest