Northern Trust Open round two: Just Heavenly for Phil Mickelson
It is as if all the heavenly bodies have aligned for Phil Mickelson to win this. Maybe they had a meeting up in Heavenly HQ and decided Lefty couldn’t do it by himself. Did he get the best of the weather or what? At least he acknowledges the fact.
Oh and a big thank you to the weather people for getting that one wrong again. The day was turned on its head as the tricky winds from Thursday afternoon blew over into Friday morning. The difference is quite startling: those who went out early Thursday averaged 71.3 and came back Friday afternoon at 70.9. Their unfortunate compadres averaged 73.7 on Thursday afternoon and returned Friday morning in a whopping 74. You would suspect the mix of players might explain some of the difference, but clearly the weather left an indelible mark.
It’s equally apparent Mickelson sharpened up his act considerably Friday. He puts his improvement down to making putts - and when they start dropping in from upwards of 50ft you can see his point - but his overall putting figures were about the same over the two days. In round two, though, he dramatically improved his accuracy of the tee and, more to the point, the ability to find greens (43rd in round one, 6th in round two). So now he sits on a comfortable 4-shot lead with just 36 holes left to snatch the one that keeps getting away from both him and Tiger Woods.
The punting masses have already counted their chickens and hatched a turkey of a price at just over 1.5. I can’t work out if that factors in the potential for a “Winged Foot moment” or not, but I doubt it.
It certainly looks a daunting prospect for his rivals, although Robert Allenby is starting to find the comfort zone with his irons.
As for K J Choi, he really has no excuses for shooting two over Friday as he enjoyed just about the same weather conditions as Lefty. He lost his way off the tee Friday, hitting only four fairways, and his putter went awol as well.
And then there’s the weather: we are assured Saturday will be as sunny as you like with minimal wind. So is that ark ready yet?
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