Wayward Mickelson stays in hunt with solid irons


NAPA, Calif. – Phil Mickelson hit just 6 of 14 fairways, pulled his drive at the par-4 13th hole out of bounds and ranks 119th in the field of 144 in driving accuracy. He’s also made 11 birdies this week at Silverado Resort & Spa and carded matching rounds of 69 for a 6 under total that left him tied for eighth place at the Safeway Open.

In other words, it’s been a perfectly Phil week in Napa.

“I certainly didn't drive it the way I need to but that's my game, I'm not the most accurate guy, but I get an iron in my hand and I can make a birdie,” he said.

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Despite his wayward tee shots, Mickelson has largely limited the damage – like at the 13th hole when he scrambled for what could only be called a good bogey – and he didn’t sound like a man searching for answers after completing his weather-delayed second round.

“This is some of the best iron play that I've had,” he said. “Given the challenge that we've had judging distance because the ball is going about 10 to 15 yards less than normal distance, then you've got a little bit of wind, a little bit of rain and soft spongy greens, it’s been some of my best iron play.”

Mickelson has hit 26 of 36 greens in regulation through two rounds and ranks 16th in the field in proximity to the hole. He also needed just 26 putts on Friday to keep himself in contention at what is his final start of 2016.