HOYLAKE, England – It was a battle.
A battle to save an unlikely par at No. 10. A battle to weather the week’s strongest winds. A battle to scratch his way back to even par and keep his title hopes alive.
When Phil Mickelson completed an eventful 70 on Friday at Hoylake he could take solace in the notion that he’d managed to accomplish at least most of those objectives.
After hitting his tee shot into a bush at the 10th hole, Lefty hit a provisional that found the fairway, drilled his next shot from 206 yards onto the green and rolled in the unlikely par.
“It was a crazy par save, wasn’t it?” said Mickelson. “Penalty, smoked my second shot and made it for eagle ... made it for par.”
It just felt like an eagle. Much like his 2-under-par card felt like a victory in much more difficult conditions, and thanks to a birdie at the last Mickelson also managed to accomplish his ultimate goal.
“I played really well today, but there were a couple of loose shots,” the defending champion said. “I ended up giving four or five shots away, but I played really well. There was like a mental barrier to get it back to even par, so that putt on 18 was big.”