HOYLAKE, England - Phil Mickelson called it a "crazy" round. He was talking about his own play at Royal Liverpool on Friday, but the word very much could have applied to his rival, Tiger Woods.
Mickelson had an eagle on the 528-yard, par-5 fifth hole, lost a ball on the par-5 10th but still made par, and birdied the par-5 18th for a 2-under-par 70 and a 36-hole total of par 144 in the British Open.
That left him 12 behind Rory McIlroy, but Mickelson, the defending champ, said "if the wind stays up," he's very much in the tournament.
Woods, who went from almost missing the cut with a triple-bogey 7 on 17 to making the cut when he holed a 6-footer on 18 for his only birdie of the day, also was thinking somewhat positively despite a 5-over 77 for 146.
"It gives me a chance," Woods said of barely qualifying after two rounds in only his second tournament since spinal surgery March 31. "Hopefully, I can do something like Paul did in '99."
That's when Paul Lawrie of Scotland came from 10 shots back after three rounds to tie after Jean Van de Velde hit into a bern and took a triple-bogey on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie. Lawrie beat Van de Velde and Justin Leonard in a playoff.
"Hopefully," Woods said, "I can play well on the weekend and at least give myself a shot at going to the back nine on Sunday."
Woods began Friday's round 3 under par but double-bogeyed the first hole, hitting three shots into the long rough, and bogeyed the second. After 14 straight pars, he drove out of bounds on 17.
Mickelson, who started the day 2 over, also had a ball go out of bounds, on 10.
"Hit a provisional in the fairway," he said of his new ball, put into play at the cost of a stroke and distance. He then hit a 2-iron 6 feet from the hole and made it for par.
Mickelson said winning last year takes the pressure off for this Open. He said he has adapted to the fact that he might get a tee time when the wind blows or doesn't, no matter if it's morning or afternoon.
"I'm more accepting of the fact that I'm on the poor end of tee times,'' he said. "I've also been on the good end. You accept that as part of the tournament."
Woods won the Open the last time it was here, in 2006. That enters his head, but not for long. "I just never made anything," he said of the round.
Until the last hole, when he needed to make one to stay in the competition.