By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson said Quail Hollow played completely differently on Friday afternoon than it did when he teed off in the first round.
"I haven't seen as big a change since like Shinnecock '95 where it was a whole different course, so I played well today,” Mickelson said. "I didn't get the ball in the hole as well as I would have liked, but I hit a lot of good putts that caught the lip. I hit a lot of putts that just didn't go in and I hit a lot of good shots that just didn't quite go my way today, but I played really well.
“I'm not disappointed."
Mickelson shot a 72 to finish at 1 under, which is looking more and more like the cutline as the final groups finish. He only hit five fairways but still managed to find 14 greens in regulation. Once there, though, Mickelson didn't take advantage, using 32 putts and making just three birdies.
"Mainly the conditions of the greens and then the wind picked up, so when we had swirling winds that made it difficult for club selection and the firmness and speed of the greens was challenging," Mickelson said when asked about what made Friday afternoon so hard. "But everybody had to play it."
Mickelson said if conditions remain the same, he expects to see some players climb the leaderboard early -- which is good for someone like himself who will be among the first off the tee on Saturday
"I think there's a good chance that if it does the same thing it's done the first two days where it plays a little bit softer in the morning, I think there's some really low scores in the morning," Mickelson explained. "I think as the greens firm up and get a little bit glossier in the afternoon, I think it becomes a challenge. There's a good chance some guys could get all hot in the morning and make up some ground."
Mickelson, who has six top-10s in eight starts at Quail Hollow, said he'd have to pick his spots to be aggressive in the third round. "We're going to have to be more patient and not attack so much," he said. "You had to really respect some of the shots, some of the holes."