Q. It was a battle out there today but you're in the hunt?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, Sunday at the Open a lot of things can happen. And I'll be off with the leaders, and I need to get hot in those first 7 holes that you can make birdies. You can makeup a lot of ground if you make birdies Sunday at the U.S. Open. It will be challenging to make up that many shots.
I didn't expect to be that far behind, but Dustin and Graeme have played exceptional golf.
Q. What was the difference between today and yesterday?
PHIL MICKELSON: What was the difference? I didn't probably strike it as great as I did yesterday. And early in the round a couple of key putts didn't go in. I had a couple of three‑putts, on 1 and 6, they cost me early in the round. It happens, but I fought the hard. I made some ridiculous up‑and‑downs. The one on 10 out the hay, and the one on 14. Those were salty. I was fortunate to keep me in the round and be within striking distance. If I can go shoot something in the '60s, get off to a good start, who knows what can happen.
Q. To not get into a disastrous situation, that this course can spell out for someone, is that a good feeling, that you stayed out of trouble?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't feel like I got myself out of trouble. I put myself in trouble a lot and was able to escape a little bit. It still got me. It still got on 9 and some holes.
Q. What happened at 9, you had 3‑iron to get over the lip?
PHIL MICKELSON: I had an 8‑iron. I was trying to hit it down short so I could chip up. Plenty of green to work with, I felt if I left it short of the green. There was some sand, and I caught it thin and it went right in the lip.
Q. Dustin out there the way he's playing right now, can you comment on the score he's been able to put up?
PHIL MICKELSON: He's played good golf, exceptional golf. It's not an easy golf course, and he's striking it very solid and putting well. That's what you have to do to win an Open and he's doing it.
He obviously feels pretty good. He's won the last two AT&T's here. I expect him to play well tomorrow. You never know what is going to happen in a U.S. Open, we'll wait and see.
Q. Do you ‑‑ would you like it to be basketball nine?
PHIL MICKELSON: I thought it was difficult today. I thought the wind came up, and it was tough to pull the right clubs. It was tough with these firm greens to get the ball to land in the proper spot. So I don't know, though, because he was able to shoot pretty low round in some tough conditions.
Q. Did you just not have a feel from the start today?
PHIL MICKELSON: I just ‑‑ yeah, just little things, I just kind of gave shots back here and there. I three‑putted one, and I three‑putted 6. I hit it in the left bunker on 4, instead of the right bunker. I was trying to get it to draw to the right bunker, and it's pretty easy up and down out of the right bunker, and I didn't, I was in the left and that cost me a shot.
Obviously missing the fairway left on 9 cost me two. And those things happen. You're going to make a bogey here and there. But just those little things, not getting my lag putts on 1 and 6 cost me a couple. Just those little things I've got to get sharp tomorrow.
Q. The opposite feeling of yesterday, when it was so smooth and easy?
PHIL MICKELSON: I struck the ball much better yesterday. And it flew my right yardages. I put the ball in the right spot, hit light of fairways; and the ones I didn't, it was first cut or right off the edge. I never really put myself in too much trouble. Today I found some trouble.
Q. Did you hear those roars coming from way back, while you were playing 9 and 10, the gallery was going nuts?
PHIL MICKELSON: You could hear them on 18 every once in a while when somebody made a birdie.
Q. Do you feel there's a certain number that ‑‑ a certain finishing number you'd like to be at in the clubhouse?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's hard to say. It really is. It's based on conditions. How the course is set up. What the USGA tries to do as far as score. It just ‑‑ a lot of variables. So it's hard to set a specific score. I do think now that under par is going to end up one go it. There were some water on the greens the first couple of days. I think under par is going to end up winning it, but I don't know by how many.