The weather conditions changed considerably at Royal Troon, but Phil Mickelson remains on top of the leaderboard after the second round of the British Open.
“I really enjoy the challenge that this weather and these elements provide. I thought it was a good round to back up the low round yesterday. I played kind of stress-free golf again. I made one or two bad swings that led to bogeys, but for the most part, kept the ball in play and played kind of stress-free golf.
Mickelson birdied four times against a couple of bogey to follow up his opening round 63 with a two-under 69 on Friday. He goes into the weekend with a one-shot lead over Henrik Stenson.
“One of the things that I’ve really worked on over the years is getting a ball onto the ground off the tee quickly, so the ground is affecting it more so than the air,” said Mickelson.
“That two iron that I hit, kind of this low shot that just kind of gets on the ground quickly is taking a lot of stress for me away from my tee shots,” he added.
“I feel like if I have to get one in the fairway, I’ve got a club and a shot that I could do fairly easily and consistently and that has led to me playing well in the elements today and hopefully in the winds that we’ll have (Saturday), he said.
Stenson had just one bogey in putting up a 65 in which he feels he caught a bit of break from the conditions.
“I think I timed it quite well. It was quite playable the first five holes before the rain hit the first time and I managed to pick up three birdies on three, four and five. Then it eased off and I birdied another one on seven,” said Stenson.
“So I think timing was good throughout the front nine. Only bogey was a bit of a soft one: I missed the second shot right on nine and didn’t get up and down,” he said.
“Then, the fun really started. It was blowing a bit more and starting to rain quite heavily and I birdied 10 in those conditions,” he added.
“Then, I was hanging on for dear life on 11 and 12, really. They were playing tough, and got away with a couple of pars and then finished up quite tidy with another couple of birdies on the way home,” said Stenson.
There are no Canadians in the field this week.
The leaderboard is here.