Mickelson rallies to make Valero cut


Even when his game is less than sharp, Phil Mickelson still has a flair for the dramatic.

Mickelson rolled up his pant leg to play a shot from the hazard guarding the 18th hole Friday, getting up and down for birdie to make the cut on the number at the Valero Texas Open.

Mickelson struggled to a 5-over 77 in the opening round, but bounced back to card a 2-under 70. At 3-over 147, he is tied for 69th through 36 holes and 11 shots behind leader Steven Bowditch.

The 43-year-old got off to a strong start in the second round, notching birdies on three of his first six holes to move temporarily inside the cut line. He failed to record a birdie across the subsequent 11 holes, however, and his weekend prospects appeared bleak after a bogey on the 15th hole dropped him to 4 over.

Needing a birdie to have any hope of making the cut, Mickelson took dead aim with his second shot to the par-5 18th but came up short and right of the green.

"I was right in between going for the green or playing a little bit to the right trying to get up and down, and I hit a very close to being a great shot and went in the water," Mickelson told reporters. "Unfortunately, it just barely went in where I hit (my) shot."

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After rolling up his left pant leg to his knee, he pitched to within six feet of the hole from the hazard and sank the birdie putt to once again move inside the number.

"It looked like the water overlapped the grass and it was not that hard of a shot," Mickelson said.  "There was a rock that I hit but...I didn't see it at address."

Mickelson added this event to his schedule late last week, making his first trek to San Antonio since 1992 in an effort to find his form with the Masters fast approaching.

"I haven't had the success I've wanted to early on at the start of the season," he told reporters Thursday. "I want to get in contention, I want to have a competitive round and work on playing proper golf and managing the game and the rounds."

While he’s not exactly in contention, Mickelson will get at least one more competitive round in the Lone Star State. A total of 82 players made the cut, meaning that a secondary, 54-hole cut will be needed to once again cull the field to top 70 and ties after the third round.

With the Masters less than two weeks away, Mickelson is still in search of his first top-10 finish of the 2013-14 season on the PGA Tour, although he did finish runner-up in Abu Dhabi in January. He is scheduled to tee it up next week at the Shell Houston Open before heading to Augusta in search of a fourth green jacket.

Mickelson was not the only notable name to stage a late rally in San Antonio. Jordan Spieth played his first seven holes in 6 over Thursday, but bounced back on his inward half to card a 75. He carried that momentum into Friday's round, shooting a 2-under 70. At 1-over 145, Spieth will enter the weekend in a tie for 43rd, nine shots off the pace.