ARDMORE, Pa. – Phil Mickelson loves being in the spotlight. He almost needed one for his final stroke of the day.
Minutes after the horn had sounded for darkness during the second round, Mickelson rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole for his first birdie of the day to shoot a 2-over 72 and reclaim a share of the clubhouse lead with Billy Horschel.
“It feels good to be in contention,” said Mickelson, who has finished runner-up at this tournament five times. “There are a lot of players right there. … I don’t see how anybody is going to separate too far from the field.”
Round 2 will resume at 7:15 a.m.
After an opening-round 67 that gave him sole possession of first place, Mickelson opened with a three-putt bogey for the second straight day, but much like Thursday’s round, he righted the ship in a hurry. Ten straight pars were followed by a pair of bogeys, but in much tougher conditions his 72 allowed him to tread water on the leaderboard.
Horschel posted a second-round 67, best of the day, that included hitting all 18 greens in regulation. According to the USGA, he’s the first player to accomplish the feat in this event in at least 15 years.
“I wasn't in the zone, I was just focused on what I tried to do,” Horschel said. “I didn't know I hit every green until I walked off 18. It's a cool thing. But like I said, it's not the first time I've hit all 18 greens. I've done it plenty of times in my career. Obviously it's at a U.S. Open, but I think the softness of the greens helped that.”
One stroke behind the co-leaders is the fivesome of Steve Stricker, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and amateur Cheng-Tsung Pan. Stricker and Rose each posted 69, finishing just before dark, while Donald carded a 72. Poulter (four holes) and Pan (nine holes) will each return in the morning to continue their second rounds.