DUBLIN, Ohio – Phil Mickelson’s goal this week is to improve with each round, but on Friday at the Memorial he may have set the bar too high for the rest of the week.
Lefty followed an opening-round 72 with a 68 on Friday to move 4 under par, well out of the lead but still within range of the leaders with a solid weekend.
It’s all part of an ongoing optimism that has infused Mickelson’s game following his runner-up finish at the Masters and a tie for fourth in his last start at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Mickelson has also been inspired by a recent trip to Chambers Bay, site of this month’s U.S. Open, and another chance to complete the career Grand Slam.
“I really like it. I think it's wonderful,” said Mickelson, who visited the links-like layout last week. “The first time you play it, it's like St. Andrews. You don't know where to go. You don't know what mounds do to the ball.
“The first time I played St. Andrews, I'm like, I don't know if I get it. Then the more you play it, the more you like it and you appreciate it, you understand where the balls are going to go and what type of shot is the highest percentage shot and how to get to certain pins.”
Mickelson described the layout as a “modern-day links golf course” and had a much more upbeat assessment of the Robert Trent Jones Jr. design than some of his fellow professionals.
“The first time you play it, you don't know [what to do],” he said. “I can see why the first impression isn't as favorable for some. But I think the more you play it, the more you like it.”