- Scottish Open, Round Two
Mickelson rediscovers touch with 64
Desperately searching for some form ahead of next week's Open Championship, Phil Mickelson carded a fine round of 64 on Friday to ensure he will make the cut at the Scottish Open.
The left-hander had bemoaned his struggle to find some form following an opening round of 73, but burst back towards the top of the leaderboard with a blistering second round that left him just five shots off the clubhouse lead at seven-under.
Mickelson began his day with an eagle at the short par-four 10th thanks to a 60-yard pitch shot and built from there, picking up two further birdies on the back nine as he embarked on a run of five birdies in six holes around the turn.
A birdie at the sixth - his 15th - was his eighth shot picked up of the day, as Mickelson avoided any bogeys and gave cause for optimism this weekend and next.
"I'm really glad I added the tournament and it's very helpful to see my game progress so quickly," Mickelson said afterwards.
The American is still some way off the pace, however, after Alex Noren burst out in front at 12-under thanks to a second successive round of 66.
The Swede, a two-time winner on the European Tour in 2011, started his day with two birdies before a double-bogey seven at the 12th threatened to upset the applecart. Noren recovered, however, picking up four birdies and an eagle to move to the front of the field.
He is joined at the top of the leaderboard by Italian Francesco Molinari, who followed up his course record 62 on Thursday with a two-under round of 70.
Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez is a shot behind after a second round 64, while Matteo Manassero also carded a 64 to join him on 11-under, with India's SSP Chowrasia at ten-under thanks to a steady 67.
Defending champion and world No. 1 Luke Donald kept himself in the hunt following a second round 68 to sit three shots off the pace - a pair of early birdies put him on the front foot, and he closed his round with two more at 17 and 18 to keep pressure on the leaders.
Martin Kaymer, the second best player in the field according to the current world rankings, was at the top of the leaderboard for much of the day, before two bogeys in his final three holes ended up pushing him back to nine-under.
The world No. 5 rushed to the turn in 31 shots, but could not replicate that form on the homeward nine as he eventually finished with a round of 68 - and a nine-under total that left him level with Donald, Peter Lawrie and Anthony Wall.
Padraig Harrington slipped off the pace after a second successive round of 69, while Ernie Els is eight shots behind the leaders after mixing five birdies and three bogeys in a round of 70.