PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- The ball-hunting seagull should have been the hint for Phil Mickelson that he was going to have a wild back nine on Friday at Pebble Beach.
There were birdies all around, and bogeys, too, as Mickelson recorded only three pars on the incoming nine, and he still managed to be on the fringe of contention in the U.S. Open.
The San Diegan shot 2-under-par 69 and stood at 1 under overall, eight shots off the lead of Gary Woodland heading into the weekend.
The back nine got off to a bizarre start after Mickelson split the fairway with his drive at the difficult par-4 10th. As the golfers left the tee, Fox television cameras caught a seagull strolling up to Mickelson's ball. The bird examined it and plucked it off the grass, only to drop it a few seconds later.
An official was on hand to help Mickelson replace his ball.
Of course, Mickelson followed the birdie with a birdie on the hole, draining a 27-foot putt.
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From there, Mickelson made bogey at 12, birdies at 13 and 14, and bogeys at 15 and 17.
The usually understated Scott Piercy had one of the great lines of the week.
"They should call me David Copperfield today. That was magic," the San Diego State alum said wryly after he shot 1-over 72. "The places I hit it -- it was terrible. It was terrible, and the putter was just amazing."
Piercy capped his round of one birdie and two bogeys by making a 25-foot putt for par on his last hole, the ninth. He bogeyed the par-5 18th for the second straight day.