SPORTS

6 times a runner-up, Phil Mickelson remains hopeful that his US Open breakthrough is near

  • Rickie Fowler, right, and Phil Mickelson walk on the 11th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Rickie Fowler, right, and Phil Mickelson walk on the 11th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)  (The Associated Press)

  • Phil Mickelson motions to fans on the 18th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

    Phil Mickelson motions to fans on the 18th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Fans watch as Phil Mickelson plays a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Matt York)

    Fans watch as Phil Mickelson plays a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in University Place, Wash. (AP Photo/Matt York)  (The Associated Press)

Always the sentimental favorite this time of year, Phil Mickelson arrived at Chambers Bay near Seattle still in search of that elusive U.S. Open championship.

The five-time major winner has been second six times, a record nearly as mystifying as it is motivating. But after a long period of changes to his physique and his swing, Mickelson is hopeful that this could be the year he completes the career grand slam.

There are certainly reasons for optimism.

He tied for third at the St. Jude Classic last week, shooting his best round of the season in the final round. And as Mickelson made his way around Chambers Bay in Tuesday's practice round, it became apparent that the long par-4s, generous fairways and quirky bounces suit his game.