“A good hot round can get me in it for Sunday,” he knowingly stated, “and that's really the goal.”
It looked possible early, as Mickelson backed a birdie on the fifth with an eagle on the sixth to get to within three strokes of the lead.
Bogeys on two of his last three holes, however, led to a 1-under 70 and dropped him to 2 under for the tournament, eight shots off the lead with 18 holes left to play.
One year ago, Mickelson used a Scottish Open victory to propel him to a first career Open Championship title one week later. This year, he was hoping for the same formula, though it will now take an exceptionally low Sunday round to replicate that feat.