Phil Mickelson is looking a bit more at ease, the golf course providing some of the distraction he wanted while he and his wife deals with her breast cancer.
Now if he can just his putter back under control.
Mickelson just missed a couple of birdie attempts yesterday, then cost himself a stroke when a par putt lipped out. Not that he got the chance to correct his stroke during the second round of the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn. He marked his tee shot in the 16th fairway, got a ride off the course and jumped into his car after play was stopped ahead of thunderstorms that had tornado sirens wailing.
Brian Gay held the clubhouse lead after a 4-under-par 66 put him at 10-under 130 through 36 holes, two strokes ahead of Robert Allenby and Bryce Molder (63), with Allenby having three holes to play. A total of 78 golfers still must finish when the second round resumes Saturday morning.
Mickelson was at 4-under with three birdies and a bogey in his first event since announcing his wife has breast cancer. This is a tuneup for the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, and his preparation showed when he pulled an iron instead of driver or a wood on the tee a couple of times yesterday.
"The star this week is Phil Mickelson," said John Senden, who shot a 66.
Woody Austin (66) was at 133 in a group that included David Toms, the two-time champ here who was at 7 under with four to play. Rich Beam (68) and Loren Roberts (67) were among those tied at 134. John Daly was even par after a 68.
* Nick Faldo will be given a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II today for his services to golf, the only athlete to be given one of Britain's highest honors on the monarch's birthday list this year.
* Injured golfer Ken Green issued a statement thanking those who have offered him support since the accident in Mississippi that killed his brother and girlfriend. Green remains hospitalized with unknown injuries and is in fair condition. He has declined Associated Press interview requests, but wanted to thank the golf community. *