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Mickelson 8 strokes off lead at St. Jude

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Phil Mickelson is tuning up for BethpageBlack and the U.S. Open. It might help if he can find a way tofinish off the 18th hole at the TPC Southwind better than doublebogey.

Playing the final three holes of his second round at the St.Jude Classic on Saturday, Mickelson started with a birdie thatdropped him to 5 under, but then went bogey and double bogey on No.18 for a second straight round.

He finished with an even-par 70 that left him 2-under 138 in hisfirst tournament since announcing his wife has breast cancer.

He is eight strokes behind Brian Gay, whose 66 Friday gave himthe clubhouse lead at 10-under 130 when play was suspended becauseof thunderstorms with 78 players on still on the course.

Robert Allenby finished a 64 on Saturday and was a stroke back.Bryce Molder (63) and Vaughn Taylor (65) were tied at 132.

John Daly made the cut at even par and will play the weekend inhis first PGA Tour event since returning from a six-monthsuspension. That means a temporary restraining order keeping hisestranged wife off the course remains in effect through theweekend.

Sergio Garcia (3 over) and defending champ Justin Leonard (5over) were among those missing the cut.

After completion of the second round on Saturday morning, PGATour officials sent the 76 players who made the cut off both teesin threesomes trying to get back on schedule.

The storm brought heavy rains to the TPC Southwind that shouldhelp scoring on a course golfers already had found receptive.

"It's obviously going to make the golf course a littlesofter," said Allenby, who lost here in a playoff a year ago.

He ended Friday off a bogey but rebounded Saturday with a birdieon his 18th hole to pull closer to Gay.

Woody Austin (66) was at 133 in a group that included DavidToms, the two-time champ here (66). Rich Beem (68) and LorenRoberts (67) were among those at 134.

Officials already had fans heading toward the exits when thehorn blew Friday. The timing was good with lightning seen 10minutes later, and the tornado sirens went off about 40 minutesafter the stoppage. Winds blew rain sideways and tossed cartsacross the grounds with some siding ripped off concession stands.

Mickelson was at 4 under and standing next to his tee ball inthe 16th fairway with 210 yards to the par-5 hole. He marked hisspot, tossed the ball to his caddie and got a ride off the courseon a cart. He walked to his car without commenting.

He started well enough Saturday with a birdie. Then he hit a teeshot into the rough and a two-putt bogey on 17 that he followed upwith his second consecutive double bogey on the par-4 18th.

Hundreds of fans followed Mickelson from hole to hole yet again,many wearing pink in support of Mickelson and his wife, Amy.

"The star this week is Phil Mickelson," said John Senden, whoshot a 66.

Mickelson looked more relaxed a couple days after an emotionalnews conference, even laughing a couple times during breaks in playFriday. He had three birdies and a bogey before just missing withhis putter on the back nine. He is using this event to get backinto competition mode, and that may have been why he hit ironinstead of driver or a wood off the tee a couple times.

He birdied three of six holes to get to 5 under, and his lastbirdie came when he mashed his drive 348 yards on the par-4 ninth.He stuck his approach within 5 feet and rolled in another putt forbirdie.

His putter failed him as he left a birdie attempt short on No.11 and had to tap in for par. His second shot into the par-4 No. 12dropped 12 feet from the cup. His birdie attempt rolled just rightof the hole and a couple feet past.

Then Mickelson pushed his drive into the rough, coming up acouple feet short of knee-high weeds. He bogeyed the hole but notbecause of that drive. He missed a 25-footer for birdie, thenlipped out a 3-footer for par when the ball hit the back of thecup.

He laid up again on the par-4 15th and had a short birdie putthe pushed a couple feet past with his frustration starting to show.He had a chance to rebound after a strong drive on the 16th, a goodscoring hole. Then came the horn.

For Gay, he is trying to do what he did in Hilton Head in April,when he ran away with a victory by 10 strokes. A win here will gethim a ticket to Bethpage Black next week, and he birdied five ofhis first eight holes and get to 12 under at No. 15 before bogeyinghis final two holes.

"I did pretty good being ahead last time, so I was tellingmyself on the back nine out there to, I was really trying to pushand try to make as many birdies as I could but ... probably pulledthe wrong club on a couple holes coming in," Gay said.

Divots: The second-round stoppage marked the seventh PGA Tourevent interrupted by weather this year. ... Gay's 130 total for 36holes is his personal best on tour. He shot 131 twice, mostrecently at the 2003 Zurich Classic in New Orleans. ... Guy Boros,tied for fourth after a 66, needed only nine putts over his finalnine holes


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