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The Loop

How Soren Kjeldsen has overcome career lows to contend at the British Open

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TROON, Scotland -- The low point for Soren Kjeldsen came at the end of 2014. Tee shots were flying left and right -- a pro's worst nightmare -- and being a shorter hitter, Kjeldsen feared what his career might bring next.

"I never considered not playing golf, but I certainly considered if I was ever going to be good enough to continue to compete," Kjeldsen said on Friday at the British Open.

Now age 41, and not long removed from those lows, Kjeldsen is enjoying a career resurgence. He won the 2015 Irish Open and contended at this year's Masters. And after opening with 67-68, Kjeldsen finds himself very much in the mix after 36 holes at Royal Troon.

Wearing a white visor over his bleached-blond hair throughout Friday's heavy rain and winds, Kjeldsen appeared drenched yet the Dane's demeanor remained unfazed. In fact, he prefers the challenge of the conditions that comes with an Open.

"I always think about The Open like this: That you want to get all sorts of conditions," Kjeldsen said. "You want different wind directions. You want sun, you want rain. We need all four seasons in a good Open, I think."

Despite the right attitude, Kjeldsen has made only three cuts in eight previous Open appearances. He recalled one of those Friday -- in what he called the low point of his career playing in Opens.

Over a rainy, sloppy two days at the 2008 British Open, Kjeldsen carded a second-round 70 at Royal Birkdale that he felt quite proud of. A lone Dane reporter waited for him in the interview area, wearing dry clothes and holding a warm cup of coffee. He had one question for Kjeldsen: "What happened out there?"

"Generally I'm quite polite," Kjeldsen said. "But I think I said, 'Maybe you should try and walk outside the tent.' "

Kjeldsen held court under the media tent on Friday and explained how he has revived his career with the right attitude. A guy comfortable in his skin and anxious chasing the leaders.

One of those leaders, Phil Mickelson, has the appreciation of Kjeldsen. The Dane said he catches himself watching YouTube highlights of Lefty from time to time: "It's inspiring. I love his attitude. I love everything, how he plays the game."

This weekend, Kjeldsen won't have to look through a screen to watch Mickelson. Kjeldsen hopes to be keeping pace with him at Royal Troon.