SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Phil Mickelson, who might have wiped out his chance at his first U.S. Open championship with a bad opening round, managed to shake it off Friday and fought his way into the weekend at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
Playing in more player-friendly conditions, moist greens and little wind, Mickelson fired a 1-under-par 69 following his opening 77 for a 146 total, two strokes better than the cut of 8-over 148. And he expressed confidence he could get back into the tournament, even if he trails 36-hole leader Dustin Johnson by 10 shots.
"The conditions are supposed to be calm in the morning," said Mickelson, who will celebrate his 48th birthday on Saturday. "I think there's a 4-, 5-, 6-under par round there. If I can shoot that or anybody who just made the cut, I think there's potential.
"You never know in this tournament. If the wind picks up, it could move them into contention on Sunday."
Some big names leaving
Many of the world's best players were packing up and ready to head home Friday evening. A total of 15 major champions did not make the cut.
Perhaps the most surprising of those names was Jordan Spieth. The 2015 U.S. Open champion ran off four straight birdies from holes 13 through 16 to get to 7-over par, but bogeyed the final two holes, including a 10-foot par miss at the 18th. His round of 71 left him at 149.
Spieth played in the same group as Rory McIlroy, who shot a 70 to better his first round by 10 shots, but still didn't qualify at 150.
Tiger Woods also improved his score in the second round, but 72-150 also sent him home.
The golfing firefighter advances
Matt Parziale, a firefighter, knew what he had to do to gain the weekend at the Open, and his downhill birdie attempt went straight into the cup on the 18th hole to enable him to make the cut.
Actually, the putt gave him a shot to spare, as his 73 left him at 147.
"I saw the projection on the boards," he said. "I don't want to be as close. You don't want to come in at 8 and then all of a sudden have it move to 7. So making the putt for 7 (over) there was pretty big for me."
Parziale, 31, who is from Brockton, Mass., home of the non-fictitious Rocky (Marciano), turned professional after college in 2009 but struggled for three years and filed for amateur reinstatement. In 2014, he joined the Brockton Fire Department, where his father, Vic, had been a firefighter for 32 years. His father is his caddie this week.
Parziale won the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, allowing him to play in the Masters, where he missed the cut, and the U.S. Open.
"Golf's hard," he said. "This game is crazy. I'm happy with the way I played and looking forward to competing this weekend."