By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson didn't have any intention of contending Sunday at The Barclays.
Six birdies over eight holes changed that.
But in the end it wasn't enough for Mickelson. He bogeyed the last and shot a 65 to finish at 9 under.
"I thought if I got to 11 (under) I would have a realistic chance," Mickelson said. "It's going to be difficult to make birdies in the afternoon."
Except for Mickelson.
He began his climb on the par-5 sixth, reaching the green in two and two-putting for birdie.
Two holes later he hit what he called his best shot of the day, a wedge out of the fairway bunker from 85 yards on the par 5 that spun sideways up the slope and stopped within 7 feet of the hole to set up another birdie.
Mickelson added three more birdies on Nos. 9, 10 and 11 before another two-putt birdie on the par-5 13th.
On the 15th, he stuck his approach to 5 feet and made one more, getting to 10 under and within one of the lead at the time.
But he missed an opportunity from 13 feet on No. 16 and his put on the 17th lipped out before he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the final hole.
"(Saturday) I started to feel it come together," Mickelson said. "Although I was sloppy and didn't shoot a low score, I could tell the parts were there.
"I was trying to put the pieces together and not make any dumb mistakes and carry that momentum into next week."
From that standpoint, mission accomplished.