Mickelson surges into Travelers Championship lead, McIlroy four back

Sporting News

Phil Mickelson is on course for his 45th PGA Tour title after surging into the lead following the second round of the Travelers Championship.

Mickelson – who celebrated his 50th birthday earlier this month – carded a seven-under-par 63 to top the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the tournament on Friday.

The five-time major champion was almost flawless at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut, where he holed eight birdies and just one bogey for the outright lead at 13 under.

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After dropping his second hole of the day, Mickelson was blemish-free with birdies at the fifth, seventh and ninth before a bogey-free back nine yielded another five gains.

Mickelson – who won the tournament in 2001 and 2002 when the event was known as the Hartford Open – sits ahead of fellow American Will Gordon and Canadian Mackenzie Hughes.

Gordon dazzled with a second-round 62, while overnight leader Hughes saw his three-stroke advantage evaporate following a two-under-par 68.

On a day which saw Denny McCarthy test positive for coronavirus and playing partner Bud Cauley also withdraw as a precaution, world number one Rory McIlroy dropped down two spots.

McIlroy started the day three shots off the pace but heads into round three four strokes back following his two-under-par 68, which included four birdies and two bogeys.

Xander Schauffele (68), Brendan Steele (62), Brendon Todd (65) and Marc Leishman (65) are also nine under through 36 holes.

Former world number one Dustin Johnson posted a 64 to be six shots behind Mickelson, while Jordan Spieth (69) plummeted into a tie for 53rd.

Meanwhile, Justin Thomas (71), Justin Rose (73) and Bubba Watson (68) all missed the cut.

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