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Phil Mickelson gets in position for a best-ever Open finish

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Maybe it's the double-glove thing.

Phil Mickelson and the British Open generally go together like Phil Mickelson and sensible, conservative shotmaking. In all his long, illustrious and probably Hall-of-Fame career, Mickelson has exactly one more top 10 in the British Open than you do, a third-place finish at Troon in 2004.

For the first third of Saturday, it looked like more of the same for Mickelson. Three over after six holes, he looked like he was headed for yet another disappointing trip across the pond.

But then the weather turned, and so too did Lefty's fortunes. He finished the final eight holes in two under to end up even par, five strokes behind leader Darren Clarke.

"It was a fun day," he said afterward. "It was certainly challenging with the rain. We got lucky. I think the guys that played late got really lucky, myself included, that it went away right around the turn, and we went from really fighting for pars on every hole to thinking birdies on some."

It's a long way for Mickelson to go; he's got some of the world's best players around and ahead of him. But this is a weekend that he could win. His most effective moments have come when no one expected anything out of him, and the 2011 British Open would certainly qualify as that.

It's all out there for Phil to grab, whether or not he uses both gloves.

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