Lefty Cards 63, Leads Travelers by 1 Shot

Phil Mickelson turned 50 last week, but he’s not acting his age.

Lefty carded a 7-under-par 63 to follow an opening 64 and took a one-stroke lead over first-round leader Mackenzie Hughes of Canada and rookie Will Gordon in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.

“I hit a lot of good wedges and gave myself some good chances,” said Mickelson, who won at TPC River Highlands in 2000 and 2001 among his 44 PGA Tour victories. “I also drove the ball well and made some putts. I made some tough six-footers to keep the momentum going. It can take away the emotion if you miss those.

“The back nine here is awesome because there are so many risk-reward holes. I’ve always loved this back nine because you know that if you hit the fairways, you can have wedges into the greens. I did that today.”

Mickelson made his only bogey of the day on the second hole and collected five of his eighth birdies on the back nine en route to a 36-hole score of 13-under 127.

The 23-year-old Gordon, playing in his eight PGA Tour event after being granted a sponsors exemption, birdied six of his first eight holes after starting on the back nine and shot 62, while Hughes followed his opening 60 with 68

“There’s a lot of golf left, so I could end up a couple of different places,” said Gordon, who was the 2019 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year at Vanderbilt. “I hit a little bit better today and the putter has been working really nice.

“I’m just trying to stay out of my own way and stay in the moment. I’ve been really free and letting them go in. I’ve been playing whenever I get my starts. I got really lucky I got one this week and I want to make the most of it.”

Tenth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State made four birdies while finishing a 68 on the back nine and is four shots back in a tie for fourth with top-ranked Rory McIlroy (68) of Northern Ireland, 2012 Travelers winner Marc Leishman (65) of Australia, Brendon Todd (65) and Brendan Steele of Idyllwild and UC Riverside, who birdied his last four holes for a 62.

Kevin Na of Diamond Bar posted a 66 and is five behind in a big tie for ninth with Bryson DeChambeau (67) of Clovis, Abraham Ancer (65) of Mexico, 2014 Travelers winner Kevin Streelman (66), Patton Kizzire (66), Zach Johnson (64), Sung Kang (67) of South Korea, Viktor Hovland (69) of Norway, Troy Merritt (64), Brian Stuard (67) and Seung-Yul Noh (68) of South Korea.

Sixth-ranked Dustin Johnson shot 64 and is in a tie for 20th that includes ninth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, who had a 67, while second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain is tied for 26th after a 68.

Defending champion Chez Reavie and seventh-ranked Patrick Reed posted 66s to make the cut on the number in a tie for 53rd, while three-time Travelers champion Bubba Watson missed the weekend by one stroke at 69-68—137, and third-ranked Justin Thomas missed by six at 71-71—142.

Denny McCarthy became the third PGA Tour player to test positive for the Coronavirus, joining Nick Watney and Cameron Champ, and withdrew before the start of round two along with Bud Cauley, who played alongside McCarthy in the first round but tested negative.

The Travelers is the third straight tournament being played without spectators because of social distancing guidelines due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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