Phil Mickelson Friday
Q. The final hole of the day, but the first birdie of the day. How good did that feel?
PHIL MICKELSON: It felt great. I wasn't expecting birdie there. It's a very difficult hole.
I got shut out today. I played really well. Even though I shot 2‑over, it was the birdie opportunities that I didn't capitalize on. Had I made one on 2 or that birdie on 8 or 9 or 11, I would have changed kind of the momentum of the round. I played well today even though I didn't feel the score was what I thought it should be.
Q. You tried to ensure that you would finish with daylight?
PHIL MICKELSON: Last night they called it at 8:19, so it was going to be close. We told DJ and his caddie Keith Sbarbaro, we may hit one shot and they looked out for it. So they moved to the side, Keegan hit, and that means the rest of the group can finish. It worked out we were fine timewise, but it's nice when guys like that help out, and it was good.
Q. Strong finish and 1‑under through 36, well played.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thanks.
Q. Much to smile about. You got the round done and you got it done in style?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it was a nice way to finish on the 18th. I fought hard all day. Let a lot of birdie opportunities slide early and in the middle of the round. I fought hard to stay in there and hit a lot of good quality shots. Made a bunch of good pars.
On 18, when you don't really expect to get one, I put the ball in a good spot and was able to roll one in. It felt good.
Q. You hit a bunch of edges that you just missed putts. Is that confidence leading into it or are you upset with that?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a touch off, but quite honestly after we had two waves of players going through, the greens weren't like they were yesterday morning, they were just pristine. With the field cut in half, I expect they'll be as pure as they were yesterday for us throughout the day.
But when the greens are very fast like this and you have soft greens that get indentations and spikes and so forth, it's very hard to make putts because you can't hit them firm enough to hold the line. I struggled with a lot of short putts today. And I've been putting really well. So hopefully tomorrow that ‑‑ today will be an anomaly on the greens, I'll get it back tomorrow. I've been playing well. Today should not have been an over par round as well as I played.
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought we'd get in ‑‑ they finished last time night at 8:19, that's five and a half hours since we teed off. I thought we'd get it in.
Q. How do you feel going into the weekend?
PHIL MICKELSON: It feels good being in contention heading into the weekend. There are a lot of players right there, around par, a couple over. I think this golf course provides a chance to shoot a low round, even though not many players have done it and it's difficult. If you play good golf there's a lot of birdie holes where you can make birdies and shoot a 60s round. The hard holes are very tough pars.
Q. This is almost impossible to see someone running with it. Do you expect a dog fight right to the end?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I do. I don't know how anyone is going to separate too far from the field. They might be a hot round tomorrow and they might get a hot round on Sunday, but unlikely to be the same player.
Q. You like that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I just like being in the mix. I think it's fun having a chance heading into the weekend. The way I have control off the tee and as good as the putter is, even though it didn't show today, I'm very excited about the opportunity this weekend.
Q. How do you think the course is going to change with the sun coming out. Is it still wet?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it's still wet. I don't think it will dry out and become too firm, possibly Sunday. But there's no need. Why would you do that when it's playing perfectly right now?
Q. What was the conversation between you and Dustin on 17?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just that we may hit one tee shot. If they get stuck in the fairway and have to wait, we need to hit one tee shot so we could finish. They moved out of the way, and Keegan hit a tee shot and they went back and finished the hole. And Steve and I played. It was nice of them so we could finish.
Q. On 14, after the bogeys, did that change your round, turn things around?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was a good par. 14 was a good par, because I actually hit what I thought was a good shot in there.
And every hole at Merion you're just fighting for par, fighting for par, and then there are some birdie opportunities. And 14 was not one of those birdie opportunities. It was a good par there.
It was a good par on 15 and 16.
17 and even 18, I'm just trying to make par and was fortunate to get one in. The birdie holes are a little bit earlier.