Phil Mickelson looked like the man to beat in the US Open with a flawless round of 4-under 66 at Shinnecock Hills that left the Masters champion tied with Shigeki Maruyama and in great position to capture the second leg of the Grand Slam. \n"Phil the Thrill" appears to be a thing of the past. Mickelson kept his driver in the bag Friday, kept big numbers off his card and made every putt inside 8 feet -- the kind of golf that usually wins a US Open. \nAnd if anyone thought he would be satisfied after finally slipping on a green jacket, forget it. \n"I really haven't felt that sense of relief," said Mickelson, who ended an 0-for-42 drought at Augusta National. "What I have felt is a sense of excitement and anticipation. I can't wait for the upcoming majors now because I feel like I'm onto something to play well in the big tournaments." \nCheered on by a raucous crowd that loves Mickelson as much as he loves New York, he finished two trips around Shinnecock Hills at 6-under 134. Maruyama joined him late in the afternoon with a 2-under 68, letting a chance to lead a major by himself for the first time slip away when he drove into the rough on his final hole and made bogey. \nThey will be in the final pairing Saturday, and Maruyama knows who will get the loudest cheers. \n"I will get ear plugs for tomorrow," he said. \nJeff Maggert had a 67 and was one shot behind, while former US Open champion Retief Goosen and Fred Funk each had a 66 and were at 4-under 136. \nShinnecock Hills was plenty tough but once again lacked the wind that usually terrorizes the world's best players. Still, it only accepts the best golf, which was evident on a leaderboard that featured all the top players. \nWell, all but No. 1. \nErnie Els birdied four straight holes to jump into contention and finished with a 67, only three shots out of the lead at 137. Vijay Singh had a 70 and was another stroke behind. \nAs for Tiger Woods, he spent much of the round flirting with the cut line until a couple of big par saves, back-to-back birdies and an 8-foot par putt on the final hole gave him a 69. He was at 141, seven shots behind and still holding out hope. \n"The great thing about it is the guys aren't going to run away and hide on this golf course," Woods said. \nMaybe not, but catching Mickelson is no picnic. \nLefty spent three days at Shinnecock Hills last weekend, learning all the nuances on the links-styled course. He attributes his great play more to preparation than a burden being lifted from ending his major drought. \n"I feel as though I'm not having any surprises," he said. "I know that if I hit it over here, I'm OK; if I hit it over here, I don't have a chance, and so forth. I think that has given me a lot of confidence playing the course." \nAngel Cabrera had a 71 to join Els at 3-under 137, while '95 US Open champion Corey Pavin had a 71 and was in the group at 138 with Singh. \nJay Haas, the first-round co-leader trying at 50 to become the oldest winner of a major, made double bogey on the final hole for a 74 and slipped six shots behind. \nMickelson had to play three holes Friday morning to complete his first round, and he immediately got in trouble by going long on the par-3 seventh. His ball was buried in a thick mess of grass, and he faced a steep slope to a green that went down toward the bunkers. \nHe chopped it up the hill in a safe place, rolled his par putt some 8 feet by and holed that for a worthy bogey. \n"It could have easily been worse, so I was very pleased to make bogey there," he said. \nMickelson followed with a 12-foot birdie and closed out his 68, and those pivotal putts carried him in the second round. During one stretch on the front nine, he made five consecutive putts between 5 and 10 feet. One was for birdie, the rest to save par. \nHis control off the tee was phenomenal, mostly with a 3-wood. \n"Left chimney," caddie Jim MacKay told him on the ninth tee, picking out the target from the clubhouse high on the hill. Another perfect shot. \nThrough it all, the size of the gallery swelled, and they held nothing back. \n"Win it for the New Yawkers," one man cried. \nThe back nine looked more like a Main Street parade, not a major championship. Mickelson looked both ways, grinning, smiling, feeling like he was the luckiest man alive. In between this celebration -- or was it a coronation? -- he even hit a few golf shots, and most of them were pure. \n"That's the way we're all striving to play -- the way he's playing now," Kirk Triplett said. "There are a lot of hard shots out there, and he hit a lot of good ones." \nMickelson made them all look easy. \nHe opted for fairway metals off the tee and rarely left the middle of the fairway. A 6-iron into No. 12 hopped hard and trickled just inside the approach of Triplett, giving Mickelson a perfect read from about 18 feet. It was similar to his walk-off birdie at the Masters, when Chris DiMarco putted first on the same line. \n"I call it being `DiMarcoed,' and it's a good thing," Mickelson said. The putt was good all the way, putting Mickelson alone in the lead at 5 under. \nThe par-5 16th -- a hole he played in 6 over to cost him the '95 Open -- was executed to perfection. He hit 3-wood off the tee, 4-iron into the bunker and blasted out to 3 feet for birdie. \nDavid Duval's return to competitive golf after an eight-month layoff wasn't a success as far as scores went, but that didn't matter to the 2001 British Open champion, who said he played because it was the US Open. \n"For what I was trying to accomplish I think I did that," Duval said after completing a second-round 82 that left him at 25-over 165, 155th in the field of 156. \nDuval said he would play at the British Open next month. \n"I'll be at Troon. I don't know if I'll play before then but I may," he said. \nDuval said he hit more good shots than he expected and was disappointed when the second round came to an end. \nSPENCER'S RIDE \nHe's a college student who just turned 20 this week, admits to anger management problems and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. \nOn Thursday he made the only hole-in-one of this US Open. And, for a while Friday, Spencer Levin had another claim to fame -- he was on the US Open leaderboard. \nWith his father on his bag, Levin chainsmoked his way around Shinnecock Hills and up the leaderboard before a few stumbles at the end left him at 2-over 142. \nStill, Levin is playing on the weekend, not bad for a former high school baseball player who won his California high school state golf championship while playing only once a week as a sophomore. \n"I'm just trying to think of it as another tournament, even though it's the US Open," Levin said. \nLevin's father, Dan, played in the 1983 Open, missing the cut. When his son decided to quit baseball and concentrate on golf, he was there to teach him. Levin plays for the University of New Mexico. \nQUOTE OF THE DAY \n"I'm going to go talk a police officer into shooting me." -- Charles Howell III when asked what he would do during the afternoon while waiting to see if his 5-over 145 would make the cut. It did.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is already in Florida with the rest of his Toronto teammates, and he knows the time to take a stand and counter the NBA plan to restart the season has passed, but his opinion on the matter has not changed. “It sucks,” VanVleet said on Monday in a videoconference of his choice to return to the court during the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter campaign. “It’s terrible timing, but that’s been 2020 for us. We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense, but
Legendary batsman Everton Weekes, the last of the famed West Indies “Three Ws,” died on Wednesday at the age of 95 and was hailed as “a founding father” of the sport in the Caribbean. “Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes,” Cricket West Indies (CWI) wrote on Twitter. “Our condolences go out to his family, friends and many fans around the world. May he rest in peace.” Barbadian Weekes was part of a feared post-World War II West Indies team who also featured Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell. Walcott died in