Mickelson in at even-par; Coetzee makes charge
Hoylake, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Phil Mickelson hit another ball out of bounds on Friday, but he scrambled to a 2-under 70 early on Friday at the Open Championship.
Mickelson ended 36 holes at even-par 144. The defending champion managed par after his out-of-bounds tee shot on the 10th as he parred nine straight holes in his second round at Royal Liverpool.
While Mickelson was scrambling for his 70, George Coetzee carded one of three 69s that were shot early on Friday. The South African is the clubhouse leader at 5-under-par 139.
World No. 1 Adam Scott stumbled to a 1-over 73 and finished at 3-under 141 for two rounds. Bill Haas (72) and 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose (70) are through 36 holes at minus-2.
D.A. Points and Gary Woodland had the other two 69s early in round two. They stand alongside Mickelson at even-par.
Mickelson, who shared 22nd at Hoylake in 2006, stumbled to a bogey on the third, but came right back with a birdie on the fourth.
The five-time major champion followed with an eagle on the fifth to jump to even-par for the championship. After a pair of pars, Mickelson tripped to a bogey on the eighth.
Around the turn, Mickelson lost his tee shot out of bounds to the left of the 10th. He found the fairway with his provisional, then after his first ball was determined to be out of bounds, Mickelson reached the green with his fourth shot. He poured in the par putt to remain at plus-1.
Mickelson, who had also parred the ninth, followed with seven more pars in a row. He closed with a birdie at the last to get in at even-par.
"It was a crazy round. I played really well. I had a couple of loose strokes, but I had a lot of great things happen with the eagle on No. 5 and an unbelievable par on 10. I'll take it. I got back to even-par," Mickelson stated. "That putt on 18 is like a mental hurdle with getting back to even-par at a major championship. That was a big putt going into the weekend."
Coetzee, who turned 28 on Friday, bogeyed the second for the second straight day. He atoned for that mistake with a birdie on the par-5 fifth. After four pars in a row, he birdied the 10th to move to minus-3.
The South African poured in three consecutive birdies from the 13th to jump into a share of the lead with Rory McIlroy at 6-under par.
While he played the 16th, Coetzee had a long wait until he hit his birdie putt. As he waited to play, Coetzee stared at a leaderboard that showed his name tied for the lead. He responded by 3-putting for bogey, and that was his first 3-putt of the week.
Coetzee made it two in a row as he also bogeyed the 17th. He got one back at the par-5 closing hole, and that birdie gave him a two-shot lead among those in the clubhouse.
"It was good fun. I made a couple of nice putts, a couple good up and downs, I'm quite happy with a 69," said Coetzee, who was 15th at Royal St George's in 2011. "The wind was still blowing, so it was quite tough. I think 69, you would do well to beat it today."
Many of those at the top of the leaderboard after round one are early in their second rounds. That includes McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia.
Three-time Open champion Tiger Woods got off to a rough start to round two with a double-bogey on the first and a bogey on the second. That dropped Woods to even-par for the championship.
Thongchai Jaidee posted his second straight 72. Jaidee, along with PGA Championship winners Keegan Bradley (71) and Jason Dufner (74), completed 36 holes at even-par.
U.S. Open champ Martin Kaymer posted a 72 and is in at 1-over-par 145. Former Masters winner Zach Johnson (75), Brandt Snedeker (72) and Jason Day (73) are one stroke further back at plus-2.
The cut line currently sits at plus-2, but could move to 3- or 4-over par as the wind picks up. Nick Watney (75) and Lee Westwood (76) are finished at 3- over-par 147, while Miguel Angel Jimenez (73), Masters champ Bubba Watson (72) and 1995 Open winner John Daly (71) are part of a large group done at plus-4.
Farther outside the cut line and unlikely to make it to the weekend are 2009 PGA champ Y.E. Yang and J.B. Holmes, who are at 7-over par, two-time Open winner Ernie Els (plus-8) and 2012 U.S. Open titlist Webb Simpson (plus-9).
07/18 10:45:47 ET