Byrd and Beljan share early lead, Mickelson struggles
(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson was almost certain to miss the cut as fellow Americans Jonathan Byrd and Charlie Beljan held a share of the early lead in Friday's second round of the Greenbrier Classic at White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia.
Byrd sank an eight-foot birdie putt on his final hole, the par-three 18th, for a two-under-par 68 to join PGA Tour rookie Beljan (62) atop the leader board at eight-under 132.
However, four-times major winner Mickelson was a frustrated figure after carding a second successive 71 on the Old White TPC Course to post a two-over total, three strokes outside the projected cutline.
"I don't know what to say about that," Mickelson told reporters after mixing three birdies with two bogeys and a double-bogey at the par-three 15th. "The parts don't feel that far off, but I haven't been putting them together.
"I just don't get it," added the American left-hander, who also missed the cut here 12 months ago. "I certainly struggled a little bit on the greens both years, but nothing that should have led to these scores."
Mickelson, who tied for 65th at last month's U.S. Open in his previous PGA Tour start, hit only six fairways on Friday while totalling 30 putts.
"It doesn't feel bad off the tee, it doesn't feel bad with the iron play and it doesn't feel bad chipping or putting," the 42-year-old said. "But I'm making a lot of loose drives here or there, some loose iron shots here or there, missing some short putts here or there."
Mickelson plans to travel with his family to Europe on Monday for a brief family holiday before he completes his preparations for the July 19-22 British Open at Royal Lytham in England.
"I'll spend a lot of time there and try to get the short game sharp," he said. "Then lastly I'll have to just get in a much better frame of mind where I'm not letting so many shots slip away throughout the round."
While Mickelson struggled on Friday, 27-year-old rookie Beljan flourished as he piled up nine birdies and a lone bogey to charge into a tie for the early lead.
Beljan made his only mistake of the day when he bogeyed his final hole, the par-four ninth, after finding a bunker off the tee.
Fellow Americans Bob Estes (65), Scott Piercy (68) and Billy Mayfair (65) were two strokes off the pace at six-under 134.
Overnight leader Vijay Singh, who opened with a blistering 63, and Tiger Woods, who carded a 71 on Thursday, were among the day's late starters.
Woods, the hottest player on the PGA Tour with three victories this season and bidding this week for a second consecutive win, was likely to need at least a two-under score on Friday to make the cut.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)
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