UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Phil Mickelson’s bid for the final leg of the career Grand Slam is officially on life support.
Mickelson struggled in the late afternoon hours on the crusty greens at Chambers Bay, carding a 4-over 74 to tumble down the standings. At 3 over, he enters the weekend in a tie for 35th place, eight shots behind co-leaders Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
“It was a tough day. It wasn’t that far off,” Mickelson said. “I had three three-putts and struggled on the surface area near the hole, and I couldn’t get the ball in.”
Mickelson opened with a short par miss on No. 10 and didn’t make a birdie until No. 8, his 17th hole of the day. By that point he was already well off the pace, and Lefty took 35 putts to complete his second round.
“I didn’t hit it quite as well as yesterday, but it wasn’t that bad,” said Mickelson, who hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation. “It was controlled misses that were reasonable misses, but I just didn’t get the ball in the hole.”
The fickle greens at Chambers Bay have received plenty of criticism from the field this week, and Mickelson added to that list – albeit diplomatically.
“Tee to green, I think it’s a very excellent test. The surface area around the hole is a bit challenging for everybody,” he said. “So I’ve got to cut myself some slack, because everybody is facing the same challenges, but I do need to find a way to get it into the hole.”
Mickelson was one of several players who made an early scouting trip to Chambers Bay, and he said he knew at that point that the putting surfaces would present some unique challenges.
“Yeah,” he said, “you could tell it was going to be an interesting week.”