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Despite poor putting, Mickelson in contention at Pebble

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Phil Mickelson endured a blustery day at Pebble Beach Golf Links and rebounded from a double-bogey 7 at his second hole on his way to a 73 and a tie for 20th place.

Mickelson, who has been slowed in recent weeks by an ailing back, spent much of his day stretching between shots, but he said his back was fine.


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“I’ll try to stretch all body parts – calves, shoulders, elbows – when it gets cold. It’s not anything to do with the back,” he said.

Mickelson was at even par for the day when he three-putted the 18th hole from about 30 feet for a 4-under total, but it wasn’t the cold, wet conditions or his swing that concerned him when he completed his round.

“I’m putting really poorly. The greens are fine, I’m just not putting very well,” Mickelson said. “I haven’t putted this poorly in a year. For the way I’m hitting it, it is really disappointing.”

Statistics back up Lefty’s concerns. Although he is just five strokes out of the lead, he’s taken 62 putts this week, including 32 on Friday and missed six putts from inside a foot in Round 2.