TROON, Scotland – The Latest on the British Open (all times local):
Phil Mickelson has picked right up where he left off in the opening round of the British Open.
Mickelson nearly aced the famous "Postage Stamp," his ball rolling right up next to the cup at the 123-yard eighth hole for a tap-in birdie.
Lefty has three birdies in the round to push his score to 11 under — five shots clear of the field as he approaches the far end of the course. Of course, he's coming off a 63 in the opening round, when he nearly became the first player in major championship history to shoot 62. A birdie putt at the 18th hole lipped out.
Royal Troon is now being pelted by rain on a cool, windy morning — a far cry from the sunny conditions on Thursday.
The French flag was at half-staff after the carnage in Nice, casting a somber mood on the second round of the British Open.
Phil Mickelson began Friday with a three-stroke lead after shooting an 8-under 63 at Royal Troon, nearly becoming the first play to shoot 62 in a major championship. At the 18th hole, a 16-foot birdie putt lipped out of the cup, costing Lefty a truly historic round.
In Nice, a large white truck plowed through Bastille Day revelers, killing at least 84 people in what was the third major attack on France in two years.
Two French golfers were in the British Open field: Victor Dubuisson and Clement Sordet. The 23-year-old Sordet used a blue marker to write the words "Pray For Nice" on his cap. The French flag that flies above the grandstand at the 18th green, along with the banners of every other nation represented in the 156-player field, was lowered to half-staff.
After a gorgeous sunny day with only a light breeze to start the tournament, the second round began under ominous gray skies, the wind off the Irish Sea having picked up significantly. Rain was expected later in the day.
Mickelson birdied the par-5 fourth hole to push his score to 9 under, looking to take advantage before the really foul weather moved in. Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark made a couple of early birdies to get within three shots of the leader.
Phil Mickelson arrives at Royal Troon to a familiar question: What will he do next?
He became the eighth player to begin a major championship with a 63, and Mickelson said it's never easy to follow that up the next day. History would agree. Of the seven previous players to open with a 63 in a major, only two of them managed to break par the next day. Greg Norman shot 69 in the second round of the 1996 Masters, and Raymond Floyd also shot 69 in the second round of the 1982 PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
Only one other person has opened with a 63 at the British Open. That was Rory McIlroy at St. Andrews in 2010 in calm conditions. Weather arrived the next day in the form of strong wind, and McIlroy shot 80.
Royal Troon doesn't look anything like Phil Mickelson remembers from his near-historic opening round in the British Open.
Some 12 hours after Mickelson opened with a record-tying 63 for a three-shot lead, the sky was lead gray instead of blue. The sun was nowhere to be found. Most significantly, the wind was blowing from an entirely different direction.
And yes, rain was in the forecast.
Mickelson, who narrowly missed a 62 when his birdie putt on the last hole dipped out of the cup, played in the morning when the rain and wind were expected. Mickelson said he looks forward to the weather challenge, and that's why he comes over to the Scottish Open a week early.
Martin Kaymer of Germany also plays in the morning.