SOUTHAMPTON, NEW YORK | Phil Mickelson made the weekend at the U.S. Open but it was dicey getting there.
Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Sergio García have Saturday and Sunday free now, something they could see coming long before they were finished Friday.
Then there’s Jordan Spieth.
Well outside the cut line on his second nine Friday at Shinnecock Hills, Spieth finally found what had been missing, making four straight birdies to get back to 7-over par for the championship with two holes remaining.
Not great but not gone.
Then Spieth bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes and was officially out of here.
Short putting having become Speith’s sudden bugaboo, he missed from 5 feet at the 17th then couldn’t save par from behind the 18th green when he needed it to stick around.
It’s Spieth’s third missed cut in six starts since his third-place finish at the Masters. It’s not a crisis but things are trending the wrong way for Spieth. Maybe a trip back to the Travelers Championship next week where he can relive his club-tossing victory celebration of a year ago will be just the tonic for what’s ailing his game.
McIlroy shot 31 on his closing nine Friday but still came up two shots short of making the cut because of the critical damage inflicted by his opening 80. He hit five greens in regulation on Thursday and 17 on Friday.
“I felt like my game was good coming in here,” McIlroy said. “I think I was just blown away by the wind. That was the thing. I haven’t played in wind like that for a long time.
“Today I hit 17 out of 18 greens. I did a lot of good stuff. Obviously, the conditions were conducive to that. Yesterday, I just wish I could have just had one day to prepare for something like that.”
Mickelson had a satisfied look about him late Friday afternoon, having tacked a second-round 69 on to his opening 77 to keep himself in the U.S. Open. Winning seems out of the question – he’s 10 behind leader Dustin Johnson – but he endured in the survive and advance portion of the U.S. Open.
It helped that Mickelson played late on Friday, after the chilly rain had blown through, allowing him to finish in nearly ideal conditions. The good news, beyond making the cut, is Mickelson is sticking to his game plan.
“The reason why it wasn’t difficult (to not dwell on his opening 77) was I did what I set out to do which was to hit fairways and not make worse than bogey,” Mickelson said.
“Unfortunately, I made way too many bogeys and not enough birdies. I had eight bogeys but I have not made a double bogey, that’s a big thing for me. That’s going to continue to be my goal, to fight to make no worse than bogey on any hole.
“I’m not thinking birdie but I’ll have to make some more tomorrow.”
At least Mickelson will have that chance.