LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A year that has not seen much go right for Phil Mickelson might be turning just in time for him to make a run at a sixth major championship.
Mickelson highlights a strong list of contenders who are chasing Rory McIlroy at the halfway point of the PGA Championship, and a 4-iron to eight feet that set up an eagle on the last hole at Valhalla Golf Club early Friday evening sure didn't hurt Lefty's chances.
"It's fun to be back in it, to have a chance," said Mickelson, whose 4-under 67 moved him to 3 strokes behind McIlroy and in a tie for seventh.
"To feel like my game is there and to not show up at the golf course hoping that I find something to work with. That's been a challenge.
"Right now I feel like when I show up I know what I'm trying to do, I'm just picking up the touch and feel and I'm fairly confident starting the round. Been a good first two rounds so far."
Mickelson found some confidence after shooting a final-round 62 on Sunday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and it has carried over to Valhalla, where several name players have given themselves a chance if McIlroy is unable to convert a second straight major title.
Australia's Jason Day, who has battled injuries most of the time since winning the WGC-Match Play Championship in February, shot 65 to put himself just a shot back of McIlroy, as did veteran Jim Furyk, who shot 68 and is having a strong year.
Rickie Fowler, who has been in the top five at all three majors so far and was second to McIlroy at the Open Championship, is right there again after a 66 left him tied with Ryan Palmer and Mikko Ilonen just 2 shots back. And veteran Steve Stricker also got on the leaderboard with a 68 that has him 4 shots back.
"I'm excited," Day said. "You can't not be excited to be in or around the lead in a major championship. Obviously they are the hardest tournaments to win. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun. I've been close a lot of times. I just have to keep knocking on the door and hopefully it will fall my way one day."
Day has just two PGA Tour victories but has been a frequent contender in majors.
Mickelson has gone the longest into any of his 22 seasons on the PGA Tour without finishing among the top 10, but feels good about his chances to add a second PGA Championship win.
"I feel like my game is pretty close to where I like it," he said. "I'm pretty sharp and feel like I'm going to have a good round tomorrow."