Sports

Putting woes make Mickelson long shot to again finish 2nd at US Open after 2nd-round 73

Phil Mickelson tips is cap after a birdie on the second hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Phil Mickelson tips is cap after a birdie on the second hole during the second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)  (The Associated Press)

At least Phil Mickelson probably won't finish second at another U.S. Open.

The six-time runner-up and zero-time champion slipped well off the pace Friday with a 73 that left him at 3 over — 13 strokes behind record-setting leader Martin Kaymer.

It's mostly because of his putter.

After ditching the claw grip in favor of a more traditional one, Mickelson missed a series of putts that would have put him at least a little closer to Kaymer.

Mickelson says the hole "looks like a thimble to me right now."

Now he's facing a colossal climb just to claw back within striking distance on a Pinehurst No. 2 course that 15 years ago was the site of the first of his many second-place finishes.