Townsend followed Mickelson on his second nine holes and he said that Phil’s play on Friday was totally different from Thursday. His iron play as well as the rest of his game was sharp and he actually left a lot of shots out on the course. It was great to watch Phil begin his second nine holes with three straight birdies and it was great to see the Phil that we know and love so to speak.
Even if Phil did not shoot 64 in the second round, he is still in Scotland a week before The Open Championship and is a few steps ahead of the players who are still in the United States who will have to fly over and have just two days to get acclimated to the changes in everything from time to food to weather. Townsend said that he has believed for many years that travelling to the United Kingdom the week before The Open Championship is the best way to prepare and anyone who does that has an advantage entering the year’s third Major.
In order to win at Royal Lytham & St. Annes next week, Phil will have to improve with his putter. He shot 64 in the second round but he did not putt very well. Based on his observations, Phil overdoes the forward press with his putter when he is struggling on the greens and that is what he was doing today. Townsend feels that it is definitely possible for Phil to improve his performance with the putter but he will have to do so if he is to have any chance of winning the Claret Jug.
The players who played in the morning today competed in conditions similar to what they were on Thursday afternoon. Conditions are much calmer for the afternoon wave and if the wind does not pick up, players like Francesco Molinari have a good chance to go low and separate themselves from the rest of the field with 36 holes to go.