'Stella' round lifts Mickelson at Safeway Open
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[October 15, 2016]
(Reuters) - Fans who bought
tickets to the Safeway Open hoping to watch Tiger Woods instead got
a pretty good show from Phil Mickelson in northern California on
Mickelson, the leading drawcard after Woods withdrew on Monday,
raved about the quality of his iron shots after a three-under 69 in
the second round at Silverado Resort.
Shrugging off intermittent rain, the five-times major champion
finished strongly with four birdies in his final six holes to post a
six-under 138 halfway total on a day when half the field did not
complete the round due to a morning weather delay.
American Scott Piercy led at 14-under after 12 holes when play was
halted, while American Bill Haas (70) was the clubhouse leader at
“Given the conditions, this was some of the best iron play I have
ever had,” Mickelson told Golf Channel.
“(I was pleased) to get the distance control right, the trajectory
and spin right on spongy greens, and give myself as many birdie
opportunities as I had.
“I hit a few wild ones as well. I guess it’s just my normal game.
“I certainly didn’t drive it the way I need to, but that’s my game.
I’m not the most accurate guy but put an iron in my hand and I can
make some birdies.”
One of the wild ones was the tee shot at the par-three seventh,
which he sprayed into a beer stand selling one of Europe’s most
Mickelson, given a free drop, hit a 'Stella' pitch shot from
hard-packed mud, only to miss the subsequent par-saving putt.
[to top of second column]
Asked whether he had considered picking up a beer while passing the
stand, the quick-witted Mickelson replied: “No, I picked up a bogey
is what I picked up. It sucked.”
Haas, meanwhile, moved into a position to possibly continue his
family success, after his father Jay at age 62 won an event on the
50-and-over Champions Tour on Sunday.
“It was awesome to watch, made me proud,” said 34-year-old Bill. “It
doesn’t help me make any more putts out there but it would be nice
to have a good finish.”
Leader Piercy, boosted by a pitch-in eagle from 40 yards at the
par-five ninth, moved two shots clear of fellow American Johnson
Wagner (14 holes) before play was suspended for the day.
The second round will resume at the crack of dawn on Saturday, with
the third round scheduled to start around noon.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian
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