Phil Mickelson’s US Open drama: birdies, bogeys, seagulls, oh my!
PEBBLE BEACH — The ball-hunting seagull should have been the hint for Phil Mickelson that he was going to have a wild back nine on Friday at Pebble Beach.
There were birdies all around, and bogeys, too, as Mickelson recorded only three pars on the incoming nine, and he still managed to be on the fringe of contention in the U.S. Open.
The San Diegan shot 2-under-par 69 and stood at 1 under overall, eight shots off the lead of Gary Woodland heading into the weekend.
The back nine got off to a bizarre start after Mickelson split the fairway with his drive at the difficult par-4 10th. As the golfers left the tee, Fox television cameras caught a seagull strolling up to Mickelson’s ball. The bird examined it and plucked it off the grass, only to drop it a few seconds later.
An official was on hand to help Mickelson replace his ball.
Of course, Mickelson followed the birdie with a birdie on the hole, draining a 27-foot putt.
From there, Mickelson made bogey at 12, birdies at 13 and 14, and bogeys at 15 and 17.
The usually understated Scott Piercy had one of the great lines of the week.
“They should call me David Copperfield today. That was magic,” the San Diego State alum said wryly after he shot 1-over 72. “The places I hit it — it was terrible. It was terrible, and the putter was just amazing.”
Piercy capped his round of one birdie and two bogeys by making a 25-foot putt for par on his last hole, the ninth. He bogeyed the par-5 18th for the second straight day.
Despite the travails, the 40-year-old seeking his first major win was tied for 12th at 3 under.
Jordan Spieth had a bizarre encounter with a bunker rake in his round of 69.
At the par-4 second, Spieth drove into the right fairway bunker. From there, he powered a low 6-iron that struck a rake that was placed on the edge of the bunker directly in front of him.
“Oh, it hit a rake! There’s a rake there!” Spieth exclaimed to his caddie, Michael Greller.
Spieth’s bad break was compounded when the ball didn’t carry very far and he ended up in the heavy rough. He had to punch out to the fairway, and then made a tremendous save of bogey when he rolled in a putt from 10 feet.
“Honestly, the only upsetting part was where the ball went after that, because it’s on me to hit the rake,” Spieth said. “Sometimes it’d hit the rake and pop up and be on the fairway, right? But it ended up in a pretty bad spot. I did well to a make a 5, for sure.”
At 1 under for the tournament, Spieth is still in contention despite suffering eight bogeys, including five in the second round.
“To be under par at the U.S. Open with eight bogeys in two days means things are in a good place, just got to limit those mistakes,” Spieth said. “They really come from iron play; iron and wedges. Just got to fine tune.”
Aaron Wise, who was born in South Africa and grew up in Lake Elsinore, sounded like a normal 22-year-old who’s just happy to be playing on the weekend in the
Phil Mickelson acknowledges the crowd on the 17th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open on Friday in Pebble Beach.