Maybe Phil Mickelson's decision to cut his family vacation to Italy short for a final tune-up before the Open Championship wasn't such a bad idea after all.
One day after Mickelson opened the Scottish Open with a 1-over 73 and looked destined to be a cut line casualty, the four-time major winner roared back into contention with a bogey-free 8-under 64 that included a 60-yard pitch-in for eagle on the par-4 10th hole.
To say Mickelson needed a solid round before heading to Royal Lytham and St Annes for the Open would be a massive understatement.
Coming into the week, Mickelson's last under par round came all the way back on May 20th during the final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship; the 73 on Thursday extended Mickelson's streak of over par rounds to eight before Friday's 64.
"I'm really glad I added the tournament and it's very helpful to see my game progress so quickly," Mickelson said after his round.
One round isn't exactly progress, but it's a start for Mickelson, who's trying to find his game and a groove. Currently 7-under for the tournament, he's still five shots off the lead at Castle Stuart. Another solid round could put him into contention come Sunday, but at the moment, the last thing he's probably thinking about is winning.
It's all about stringing together a couple more under par rounds to build his confidence level. Eight birdies over one round will certainly help ease the nerves, but with only two top-10 finishes in his career at the Open Championship, he could use a couple more rounds in the red before making the trek to Royal Lytham and St Annes.