Saturday, May 24, 2008
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FORT WORTH, Texas - Phil Mickelson is carrying five different wedges in his bag at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. He's used every one of them - very effectively.
Along with his putter.
Mickelson had 11 one-putts and converted all six sand saves in a 2-under 68 in the second round Friday to take the lead at 7-under 133. The world's No. 2-ranked player led Matt Kuchar (64), Brian Gay (65) and Johnson Wagner (71) by one stroke.
'It was probably the best putting round I've had all year,' said Mickelson, who needed only 25 putts.
That's because Mickelson kept setting himself up with the short clubs. From the fairways, the rough and the bunkers.
Only four of his one-putts were 9 feet or longer (the longest was 18 feet). Three of those came at Nos. 3-5, the trio of holes known as Colonial's 'horrible horseshoe' because of the difficulty and layout of that stretch, where he hit his approach into greenside bunkers each time and saved par. That was part of his final nine holes.
'Those putts kept the round going,' Mickelson said. 'When I got through those holes, I thought I could get a couple of birdies coming in. I had a couple of good chances.'
Mickelson didn't lower his score after that, missing a 6-foot birdie on No. 7 before his short approach at No. 9 bounced over the hole and he slid an 8-footer just past. But the 2000 Colonial champion, here for the first time in three years, still stayed alone at the top of the leaderboard.
Wagner, the first-round leader by two strokes, got a birdie on his second hole, the 611-yard 11th. But he needed three shots from 27 feet for bogey at the par-3 13th and had double bogey after hitting his approach at No. 15 into a water canal.