OAKMONT, Pa. – Phil Mickelson's third attempt at winning the career Grand Slam so far has gone much like the first two – not very well.
Mickelson sits at 7-over 77 after finishing his second round Saturday morning. He made pars on the 17th and 18th holes, when a birdie would have got him inside the cut line.
As of 11 a.m. Saturday, that was at 6-over.
Ever the optimist, however, Mickelson was holding out hope after his round.
"I would be surprised if I didn't make it," he said. "I think 7-over will make it."
Mickelson lamented letting "four or five par putts kind of slide."
"All of a sudden I'd be 2-over and right in it," he said. "You can't do that here because you don't have those birdie opportunities to offset it. I didn't have very many birdie opportunities."
That's largely because of his iron play. Mickelson hit 21 of 28 fairways – well above the field average of 57 percent – but just 20 of 36 greens. Even when he did find the putting surface, he wasn't particularly close to the hole.
"Instead of hitting it 15 feet, giving myself chances, I'm 30 feet, 40 feet, and fighting it just to make par," he said. "It was a challenging day, but I think it's a real tribute to the course and the setup and the U.S. Open challenge of how the scores – how you have a discrepancy in the scores – where there were holes you could make birdie, and you saw guys shoot under par. I felt like it was a very fair setup. If you played all, there were pins you could get to."