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May 19 2012

1:30 AM

Notes from inside the ropes

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Phil Mickelson, who hits his approach on No. 18 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship on Friday, had arguably the shot of the day on the 427-yard ninth hole en route to a second-round, 1-under 69.

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

IRVING, Texas — If you watch Phil Mickelson play 18 holes of golf, you are going to see some sort of unusual shot. It came on the ninth hole in the second round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship on Friday.

Just 128 yards from the green and in the trees on the left, Mickelson needed to hit a big cut. He kept pulling clubs out of his bag until he decided on a 5-wood. The result was brilliant. He used a punch-cut, slicing the ball under and around a group of trees, and running the ball up to the putting surface to within 16 feet of the hole. To top it off, Lefty converted the birdie putt en route to a 1-under 69 and a two-round total of 1 under.

Mickelson can hit that 5-wood 250 yards if needed and now we know he can also hit it from 128. Few players on the PGA TOUR can imagine that shot, let alone pull it off.

Unusual read: Keegan Bradley has an unusual method to line up a putt. He gets behind the ball and then cocks his head to the right. Bradley says he is right-eye dominant and by tilting his head to the right he gets a better read of the green.

It seems to be working. Bradley, who carded a 2-under 68 in the second round and is tied for eighth at 5 under, is 32nd on the PGA TOUR in Strokes-Gained Putting.

Seventh hole: The par-5 seventh hole measures 542 yards and played the easiest on the course. It's reachable in two shots for just about every player in the field — but Jason Day took it to the extreme. After a booming, 343-yard drive, he hit a 180-yard 7-iron to within 13 feet. Unfortunately, he did not make the eagle putt but when you can hit a 7-iron into a par 5 with your second shot, you can understand why the hole is so easy.

Open qualifier: It is small consolation, but those players who missed the cut can rest up for Monday. The British Open qualifier takes place at nearby Gleneagles Country Club. It's a 36-hole ordeal that is always draining both physically and mentally.

Caddie change: J.J. Henry has another former TOUR player as a caddie again this week. Fellow Texas Christian alum Pete Jordan is looping for the fellow Horned Frog. Last week, at THE PLAYERS Championship, Henry had former PGA champion Mark Brooks on the bag.

Jordan is carrying the full-size Callaway bag this week, while Brooks opted for a much smaller stand bag. It will be interesting to see who is working for Henry next week in Fort Worth. Apparently, you have to be a former TOUR player to apply for the job.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and inside the ropes this week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.

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