Phil Mickelson didn’t have another 60 in him, but at the end of the day he still held the lead in the 60th Desert Classic.
The 48-year-old Mickelson birdied four the last five holes to card a 4-under-par 68 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West www.lqcc.org in La Quinta and took a two-stroke lead over Curtis Luck of Australia after the second round.
“I felt my ball-striking was better, but I didn’t putt as well before making birdies on four of the last five holes,” said Mickelson, who bidding for his 20th victory on the West Coast Swing. “I got it going with an eight-footer and kind of got a spark there. It was nice to see the ball go in instead of lip out, and I made some after that.
“I’ll have to go out on the Stadium Course tomorrow and make up for it. You have to keep going after it because there are going to be a lot of birdies out there. I have to keep it going the next couple of days, but this has been a fun, surprising start to the year for me.”
Lefty, who has won the Desert Classic twice, bounced back from a double-bogey 6 on the ninth hole when he hit into the water and recorded a 36-hole score of 16-under 128.
Luck, whose only pro victory came in the 2016 Nexus Risk TSA Group WA Open on the Australasian Tour, shot 66 with four birdies on each nine of the Nicklaus Course, while Steve Marino made a hole in one on the seventh hole at La Quinta Country Club www.lqcc.org and is three shots back in a tie for third with Adam Hadwin of Canada, who had a 66 that was marred by his only bogey on the last hole at La Quinta CC.
Seventh-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain, the defending champion, totaled 66 on the Nicklaus Course and is one more behind in a tie for fifth with Joey Garber, who posted a 64 at La Quinta CC, and Wyndham Clark, who shot 67 on the Nicklaus Course.
Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos Viejo and UCLA carded a 66 on the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West and is five back in a tie for eighth with Abraham Ancer of Mexico, who finished at 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Sean O’Hair, who wound up at 67 on the Stadium Course.
Top-ranked Justin Rose is tied for 28th after a 68 on the Nicklaus Course.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/competition/2019/desert-classic/leaderboard.html