After failing to make a single birdie in his opening round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Phil Mickelson appeared to be in some trouble after bogeying his first hole Friday to drop to 2 over for the week.
From there, though, Mickelson was able to right the ship, carding five birdies en route to a 2-under 70 that allowed him to finish one shot clear of the 36-hole cut line.
After struggling noticeably off the tee Thursday, Mickelson's accuracy didn't improve much in the second round, as the five-time major champion found seven of 14 fairways at Abu Dhabi Golf Club - one more than his first-round total. His greens in regulation percentage actually took a step backwards, as Mickelson went from 12 of 18 GIR to just 11 of 18 Friday, and he made three total bogeys as opposed to just a single bogey in the opening round.
The difference for the 43-year-old, though, was on the greens. Mickelson needed just 27 putts Friday, four fewer than his previous effort, and was finally able to cash in on some of the birdie opportunities he created for himself during the round. His day ended on a high note, as Lefty curled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to cap his day and get back into red figures at the halfway mark.
At 1-under 143, Mickelson trails co-leaders Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Craig Lee by eight shots, and sits six shots behind Rory McIlroy, his playing competitor for the opening two rounds. He is among a large tie for 43rd through two rounds, as 72 players advanced to the weekend with scores of even-par 144 or better.