Zero chance? Phil alters game plan on 17th hole

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OAKMONT, Pa. – When Phil Mickelson spoke with the media on Wednesday he was asked his strategy for the par-4 17th hole, which is playing just over 300 yards for this week’s U.S. Open.

“There is no place around that green that is any good, OK?” he said. “So I don't care how far up the tee box is, I will lay up.”

When Lefty was asked if that applied even if he found himself a shot back on Sunday he shook his head, “I don't know how to emphasize this any more. There is zero chance I will go for that green,” he said.

Seems there was more than a “zero” chance, however. Early Saturday as Mickelson completed his weather-delayed second round, he stepped to the 17th tee and removed a head cover.

“It was like a ... driver,” he told the Associated Press after his round.


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Mickelson said he needed another birdie to assure he’d make the cut and after Thursday’s heavy rains he adjusted his game plan, but only slightly.

He said he was trying to hit into the “big mouth” of the bunker short and right of the green, not the green itself. So, technically, it was a lay-up.

Mickelson made par on the 17th hole and finished his day at 7 over par, perched on a fluctuating cut line.

“Hopefully, I'll make the cut. I believe that I will. If so and I have an opportunity, you just never know on this golf course,” he said. “We've seen low scores. I don't feel like I have to search for anything on the range. I feel like my game is there, but my scoring hasn't been what I want the first two days.”