As the winds swirled and slammed Royal Aberdeen in round two of the Scottish Open, defending champion Phil Mickelson stumbled in the second round of his title defense, carding a 2-over, 73 to fall to 1-under overall.
Though the five time major winner gave strokes back to the course today,as many others did as well, he remains just five strokes off the lead of Kristoffer Broberg, Ricardo Gonzalez and Scotsman, Marc Warren.
Although Mickelson did struggle today around Royal Aberdeen, he remains up beat and likes his position heading into the weekend and The Open Championship next week.
“Well, I’m excited to have two more rounds and be within striking distance of the lead,” said Mickelson in his post round interview. “I really think the lead will be about 6‑under by the end of the day, and if that’s the case I’m five back, and a good hot round can get me in it for Sunday and that’s really the goal.”
Mickelson was also asked how taxing these types of conditions can be on a player mentally and how any moment of mental lapse can occur and effect the entire round.
“Well, that’s why it’s such a good test is that it really forces you to focus on each shot, because one bad slipup, and it’ll cost you one or two shots like it did me,” Mickelson replied.
“It is very mentally draining playing out there, because it’s such a tough test, and I’m a little concerned that it’s taken up a little bit more energy than I would like for next week. But it’s also a good opportunity to focus on some of the difficult shots that we’ll have next week, so it kind of goes both ways.”
As the weekend approaches in Scotland, the defending champion of both the Scottish Open and Open Championship remain in striking distance of the lead.
The only questions that remain are will Mickelson have enough fuel in the tank for The Open Championship next week after these conditions? And, can he find a way yet again to pull off the shots he needs to once again pull off the victory at the Scottish Open?