Mickelson Gambles Fades in Round 2


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Phil Mickelson gambled once and lost two shots. He gambled again and lost his lead.
Stop here if this sounds all too familiar.
Another roller-coaster day in a major championship ended with Mickelson coming up short again, blowing an early four-shot lead with a 75 Friday that left him four shots behind in the PGA Championship.
Just when it seemed Mickelson was on the verge of overcoming his major championship demons, he gave into his aggressive nature at the wrong time and ended up with a couple of wet golf balls.
It cost him two double bogeys in a stretch of three holes on the front nine in a tournament he seemed ready to dominate.
Mickelson's only consolation? It was Friday and not Sunday.
Besides, he wasn't about to apologize for how he got where he was. Not even if he's 0-for-41 and counting in majors as a pro.
'You can't alter your style of play,' Mickelson said. 'I can't alter what got me to 5 under par. I had some risk-reward shots today, risk-reward shots yesterday and that was one that just didn't come off.'
Mickelson was talking about the fifth hole, where he had 128 yards out of the rough to the front of the green over water. He was coming off a birdie the hole before that got him to 5 under, giving him a four-shot lead that had him feeling pretty good about himself.
By the time he left the green, the lead had been reduced to two, and Mickelson was suddenly heading the wrong way in a hurry again.
'It really was not that hard of a shot. I had a pretty decent lie out of the rough, otherwise I probably would have laid up,' Mickelson said. 'I felt like there was no grass in front of the ball and it would come out OK.'
It didn't, though, because Mickelson left his wedge open a bit and the ball didn't fly far enough. Still, he insisted the decision was the correct one because if he had laid up to the right he would have made bogey anyway.
'It was a gamble. No question it was a gamble,' Mickelson said.
Mickelson wasn't done rolling the dice. On the par-4 No. 7, he pulled out driver instead of trying to play a conservative shot in the fairway.
He hooked it long into the water, and a few minutes later he had his second double bogey.
'The mistake I made there was trying to draw it, trying to start it down the left side and hit a draw because my draw was missing right,' Mickelson said. 'You just can't miss it right on this golf course.'
Mickelson had come to Oak Hill thinking he might finally be playing well for the first time all year. It turned out he was, though he wasn't talking about it much.
Mickelson shot an opening 66 to share the first-round lead with Rod Pampling, and was 1-under through four holes Friday. At the same time he was getting aggressive, though, the greens were firming up and drying out.
Mickelson didn't make another birdie all day.
'I really thought that today was a day I was going to be able to take advantage of some good play and make some birdies, because there are some birdies out there if you hit some good shots,' Mickelson said.
The best news for Mickelson was that not many others were making birdies, either. Shaun Micheel made a bunch at the end of his round to take the lead, but there are only three others between Mickelson and the lead.
Asked whether he liked his position, Lefty said:
'That's kind of a glass half-empty, glass half-full question and I'm going to go with half-full.'
Eliminate a few mistakes, Mickelson said, and he's right there.
But stop playing aggressively? That's not in his vocabulary.
'I'm going to spend a little practice session in the morning and try to get the missed shots to be left again and basically get rid of the hook,' he said. 'If that's the case, I feel like I'll be able to be more aggressive and attack a little bit more off the tee and into the greens.'
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