Phil Mickelson Shoots A 66 Friday At 2010 U.S. Open

June 20, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell

Phil Mickelson found himself in an odd situation Saturday as he waited for his third-round to start.  He wasn’t sure what to do with himself with a tee-time so late in the afternoon.  Should he take his girls to a late breakfast?  Could he try to get some more practice time in?

The three-time Masters champion has himself to thank for his tee time as he shot a tournament-low five-under-par 66.  His playing partner Padrig Harrington said it was the best golf he has ever seen “Lefty” play.

“It was spectacular all day,” said Harrington, whose 73 left him seven strokes behind Englishman Graeme McDowell, a five-time winner on the European Tour. “I got to see it firsthand; he didn’t miss a shot all day. He hit the ball well under control. Certainly it was the best I’ve seen him jplay. It was as easy a 66 as you’ll ever see.”

Mickelson finished two strokes back of 36-hole leader McDowell, who analysts say has the talent to win the whole thing.  Phil said he was feeling much better than after Friday’s round.

“I’m a lot cheerier and I feel much better about my position in the tournament and heading into the weekend than I did after yesterday’s round,” Mickelson said after the round. “But I knew I was playing well. I knew I was putting well even though I putted terrible yesterday. I knew I was close. And to be able to make that change and get it going … I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Phil made three birdies in a row, starting on the par-4 No. 2 hole.  Mickelson’s caddy Jim “Bones” McKay said his round was jump started at two.

“You’re just trying to make a 4 on No. 2, and he makes a 3,” said Mickelson’s caddie, Mackay. “That’s a pretty good kick in the pants.”

The former Arizona State star is not tied for second along with Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson, and new comer Ryo Ishikawa.  Els is a two-time U.S. Open champion, Johnson has won the AT&T Pro-AM at Pebble Beach twice in his career, and the 18-year old Ishikawa is the youngster, but has won seven times already on his home tour in Japan.

Ernie Els will be Mickelson’s partner Sunday, and is a few strokes back of the leaders.  Mickelson himself has been a five-time runner up at the U.S. Open, and looks to break that form with another dominant performance Sunday.  His wife will be in attendance.  The last time she was there, he won at Augusta National.

USA sportsbooks have set Mickelson chances of winning the 2010 U.S. Open at +1000.  Dustin Johnson comes in as the favorite at -115 Sunday.  Tiger Wood’s line is second behind Johnson’s at +275.

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