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‘Excited’ Phil (69) four back at Shriners, optimistic about this week’s play

LAS VEGAS – Phil Mickelson wasn’t overly impressed with his play Friday, backing up an opening 65 with a second-round 69.

But unlike his play at other events this year, Friday’s round never got out of hand.

Even though he feels like he left shots out on the course, he’s still just four off the pace through 36 holes at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

“I’m excited to make a run and go have an opportunity tomorrow to make a run,” he said.

Mickelson hasn’t been around for many weekends as of late, and he hasn’t genuinely been in contention since February. He has missed the cut in the last four full-field events he’s played.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open: Full-field scores | Full coverage

But he’s feeling good about his iron play in the desert and seems buoyed by a putter switch to a custom-designed Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten mallet earlier this week.

“It helps me from 6-8 feet and in, and unfortunately it didn’t show today, but Wednesday and Thursday, I putted really well from inside 6-8 feet, which is what I’m concerned with,” he said. “If I make those putts, I’m going to have a lot of chances to win tournaments.

“I feel like I’m playing well enough to shoot 62 or 63 out here, and I just need to get a little bit better performance on the greens.”