US Open: Phil Mickelson's spirits lifted by closing birdie in second round
Last Updated: 15/06/13 10:02am
I fought hard – Mickelson
Phil Mickelson ended a tough second day of the US Open on a high note as a late birdie reclaimed a share of the lead at Merion.
The left-hander narrowly managed to finish his second-round 72, draining a 20-foot birdie putt on the final green moments after the horns sounded to signal the end of play for the day.
The five-time runner up held the first-round lead after his opening 67, but he started his second with a three putt bogey and missed a series of makeable birdie putts following some delightful iron play.
He dropped further shots at 12 and 13 after a run of 10 straight pars, but his valiant finish got him back to one under alongside Billy Horschel.
"It was a nice way to finish," he said. "I fought hard all day, let a lot of birdie opportunities slide early and in the middle of the round. I fought hard to stay in there and hit a lot of good quality shots. Made a bunch of good pars.
"It was the birdie opportunities that I didn't capitalise on. Had I made one, I would have changed the momentum of the round. I played well even though I didn't feel the score was what I thought it should be.
"But it's fun having a chance heading into the weekend. The way I have control off the tee and as good as the putter is, even though it didn't show today, I'm very excited about the opportunity this weekend."
Mickelson had asked the group ahead to stand aside on the 18th fairway to ensure his group could tee off before play was suspended, allowing him the option to complete the round and avoid an early restart on Saturday.
"I spoke to Dustin Johnson on the 17th and they moved out the way so Keegan Bradley could hit a tee shot," he added. "It was nice of them."
Justin Rose also managed to complete his second round in the fading light, getting up and down from 110 yards to save par at the last and cap an excellent 69 which left him just one off the lead.
"That was huge, it could be worth shots on Saturday," he said. "Instead of a 7:30am restart and then having to kill seven or eight hours, that lie-in is going to feel very very good."