(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson made a mockery of his recent poor form when he fired a flawless eight-under-par 64 in the second round of Scottish Open at Castle Stuart on Friday to move to within five shots of the lead.
Sweden's Alexander Noren, buoyed by birthday flowers from his golfer girlfriend Emelie who won a tournament in Norway on Monday, fired a second consecutive 66 to hold a one-shot advantage on 12-under 132 over Argentina Ricardo Gonzalez (64).
Four-times major winner Mickelson (137) equaled Gonzalez's round of the day, starting in ideal fashion when the American holed out from 60 yards for an eagle two at his first hole.
Mickelson's previous eight rounds had all been over par, a career first and not the sort of form the 42-year-old wanted heading into next week's third major of the year at the British Open.
"I'm really glad I added the tournament and it's very helpful to see my game progress so quickly," Mickelson, who only entered the tournament on Saturday, told the European Tour website (www.europeantour.com).
"In fact, when I was thinking about adding this tournament, after missing the cut last week, my wife Amy and I thought simultaneously of the same decision, so I am very lucky."
Noren started birdie-birdie-double bogey but an eagle at the par-five 6th hole was the highlight of his four-under back nine.
Noren thanked his girlfriend's unexpected gesture.
"That's the first time I've had flowers," said the world number 89, who turned 30 on Thursday.
"Emelie gave me a nice birthday gift in winning a tournament on Monday, so that was a really nice present for the both of us."
Overnight leader Francesco Molinari was even par midway through his second round after an opening 62, while world number one Luke Donald had joined Mickelson on seven-under after nine holes following his first-round 67.
(Writing by Tom Pilcher, editing by Justin Palmer)
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