HUMBLE, Texas – After putting “terrible” for the first 29 holes of the Shell Houston Open, Phil Mickelson made a slight adjustment in his putting setup and now is brimming with confidence heading into the weekend here.
Mickelson shot 70 Friday to post 6-under 138 and sits six shots behind leader Sergio Garcia. Only six players are between Mickelson and the lead, however.
“I’m excited about the weekend because, first of all, I haven’t had many opportunities this year,” he said. “I haven’t been here in contention, and I can feel my game starting to get sharp.”
Mickelson hasn’t finished better than 14th on the PGA Tour this season, though he did have a chance to win earlier this year in Abu Dhabi, where he tied for second.
This week Mickelson is ranked 101st in strokes gained-putting, but he came off the course encouraged by the 21- and 13-foot putts he made on Nos. 12 and 13.
“I feel better than I have in a long time with my game,” he said, “and when the putter started turning there the last seven holes, I’m excited about the weekend.”
Even better news: Mickelson said that his right oblique injury is now a non-issue.
“It feels good,” he said. “I guess I’m just getting older, with all these aches and pains. But I’m surprised. I was really worried last Saturday. I was really worried about not only playing here but next week, and now it feels great.”