Harold Varner III, Bubba Watson to play Jason Day, Wesley Bryan in charity exhibition match

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson will team up with Harold Varner III for a special charity exhibition match ahead of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

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The pair will take on former world No 1 Jason Day and Wesley Bryan in a nine-hole contest on the back nine of Detroit Golf Club, venue for this week’s PGA Tour event.

The special will be raising money for the tournament’s “Changing the Course” initiative, a multi-year campaign is to ensure every Detroit resident has access to the internet, technology and digital literacy training they deserve.

Detroit currently ranks as the least-connected city in America, with nearly a third of its homes without broadband of any type and the “digital divide” leaving them excluded from opportunities for education and employment.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun to get out there Wednesday for a little hit and giggle with some friends to raise money for a great cause,” Watson said.

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Golf: Delicious diet behind PGA star Bryson DeChambeau’s bulk

Bryson DeChambeau’s new-found size — and strength — is the talk of the PGA Tour.

The 26-year-old American put on more than 13kg during golf’s coronavirus-enforced off-season and has been blasting the ball further than anyone since play resumed.

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The world number 11 was quizzed by reporters earlier this month after how he put on so much size and DeChambeau responded: “I eat whatever I want whenever. Obviously, I’m trying to control the intake of sugars, but carbs are fine because I’m obviously sweating like crazy out here.”

But on Wednesday he broke down specifically what he’s consuming each day — and it sounds delicious.

Bryson DeChambeau. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

DeChambeau finished in a tie for sixth at the Travellers Championship. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

“I would say in the mornings I usually have four eggs, five pieces of bacon, some toast and two protein shakes,” he told reporters.

“Throughout the course of the day I’ll have a GoMacro (protein) bar here and there, I’ll have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich … (and) I’ll have at least two protein shakes on the golf course, at every six holes, and after the round I’ll have one.

“After that, I’m snacking when I’m practising after. Go back to the hotel, eat a dinner, steak, potatoes … and I’ll have two protein shakes with it there as well.

“So I’m consuming around six to seven of those protein shakes a day now where I used to be two or three.

“With the weight up, I just had to consume a lot more. Luckily, I like the taste of those shakes so I can take those pretty easily.”

The Californian estimated he was consuming between 3000 and 3500 calories a day.



Four eggs

Five pieces of bacon


Two protein shakes

Lunch (on course)

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Protein bar

Three protein shakes




Two protein shakes

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Dylan Frittelli becomes fourth PGA Tour player to test positive for Covid-19

Dylan Frittelli will not be permitted to play in this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic after testing positive for Covid-19, the PGA Tour have confirmed.

Frittelli was tested as part of the Tour’s pre-charter process ahead of travelling to Detroit, and he will now have to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days after producing a positive result for coronavirus.

The South African missed the cut at the Travelers Championship having finished tied for eighth at the previous week’s RBC Heritage, although he insisted he is “feeling great physically” and will aim to return at the Workday Charity Open.

He has already been denied the chance to defend his John Deer Classic title after the tournament was cancelled for this year and replaced by a new event at Muirfield Village in Ohio ahead of The Memorial, hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

Frittelli becomes the fourth PGA Tour professional to test positive for coronavirus after Nick Watney, Cameron Champ and Denny McCarthy, while Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell both pulled out of the Travelers Championship after their caddies were also found to have contracted Covid-19.

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A PGA Tour statement issued shortly after Dustin Johnson’s victory at TPC River Highlands read: “As part of the PGA TOUR’s pre-charter testing process, Tour player Dylan Frittelli tested positive for COVID-19.

“Frittelli, who missed the cut at the Travelers Championship, has been withdrawn from next week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic field. He will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation period under CDC guidelines.

“The PGA Tour has implemented its response plan in consultation with medical experts, including working with those who may have had close contact with Frittelli. After conducting necessary contact tracing, the Tour’s medical advisors are not recommending any additional testing at this time.

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Dustin Johnson claims first PGA Tour win in 16 months at Travelers Championship

Dustin Johnson produced some outstanding putting and enjoyed a few moments of good fortune as he clinched his first win in over 16 months at the Travelers Championship.

Final leaderboard

Travelers Championship

Johnson’s final-round 67 was just enough to hold off Kevin Streelman at TPC River Highlands, where overnight leader Brendon Todd parred the first 11 holes before his challenge derailed with a triple-bogey seven at an expensive 12th hole.

Todd, two clear after 54 holes, suddenly found himself two behind when Johnson made his fifth birdie in a high-quality seven-hole stretch at the 10th, and his problems began when his approach to the 12th from the middle of the fairway came up short and right.

His ball buried deep in the bank of a bunker, Todd shanked his pitch and then came up short with an ambitious flop-shot before a putt up the slope also lacked the pace to reach the putting surface.

Todd’s hopes of becoming the first player to win three times on the PGA Tour this season were effectively over after the resulting triple-bogey, although Johnson then made a big error at the next when he pulled his drive out of bounds.

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The former world No 1 did well to roll in a seven-foot putt to limit the damage to a bogey-six, but he bounced back immediately with another perfect putt from 15 feet for birdie at 14, where Todd dropped another shot to tumble out of the top 10.

Johnson then looked certain to drop at least one shot on the driveable par-four 15th, when another tugged tee shot was heading for the water hazard only for his ball to pitch, dig in and cling onto the grassy bank beside the lake.

He pitched onto the front of the green while stood in the hazard and safely two-putted for par, but he was then heading back to the clubhouse with the rest of the field still on course after the klaxons sounded to alert the threat of lightning in the area.

However, the suspension in play lasted only an hour, after which Johnson promptly dumped a seven-iron into sand at the short 16th, played a poor bunker escape and the resulting bogey meant his lead had been whittled down to a single shot by Streelman, who had completed 17 holes in three under par and without a bogey on his card.

But the 2014 champion was unable to bogey the last as he settled for a 67 and the clubhouse lead on 18 under, leaving Johnson needing just a par to win for the first time since the WGC-Mexico Championship in February last year.

Johnson resisted the urge to play cautiously and hammered his final drive over 350 yards down the fairway, flicked a wedge to the heart of the green and two-putted for the winning par and a one-shot victory over Streelman, with Will Gordon (64) and Mackenzie Hughes (67) sharing third on 17 under.

Former US Open champion Johnson has now collected 21 PGA Tour titles, and at least one every year since 2008, a record he was proud and relieved to have continued in Connecticut after a barren run of results over the last few months.

Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau was unable to mount a serious threat over the final 18 holes as he signed off with a 68 to finish tied for sixth on 15 under, while Rory McIlroy was again frustrated by further “stupid mistakes” that have hampered him throughout the tournament.

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How the PGA Tour navigated its toughest week yet

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CROMWELL, Conn. — Nothing about the PGA Tour’s return was ever going to be easy. If that wasn’t clear before, this week at the Travelers Championship quickly brought back the reality of just how complicated playing golf is going to be each and every week. Perhaps two quiet weeks after a three-month layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic initially fooled everyone, with players, caddies and Tour officials all being lulled into a false sense of security, relaxing here and there on some of the guidelines, and letting their guard down just a little bit.

However, this week:

  • There were positive tests, of players and caddies.

  • There was the sudden arrival of the PGA Tour commissioner and the possibility of another shutdown.

  • There was one major champion leaving and one playing a round all by himself.

So yes, the stark reality of all this was evident all across the property, every day of the week.

And now, after a week that produced multiple warnings and as many strong signs of the sport’s resilience, this traveling circus packs up its tent and heads to Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. But this week at TPC River Highlands taught some lessons, offered some stark reminders, brought some renewed focus and forced some stricter protocols to keep the sport from going back into shutdown.

The golf itself was phenomenal. There was 50-year-old Phil Mickelson opening with 64-63, offering a glimpse of the past and the possibility that there is still some magic and wins hiding in his golf bag. There was the bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau, pummeling a 428-yard drive in Friday’s second round as he muscled his way into a contention for a third straight week as he proves there is method to go with madness.

But even the strong play by the world’s best came with harsh reminders this is different. There was, again, the stillness, the eerie quiet. Golf has a recognizable soundtrack — the roars of Amen Corner, the groans as a ball splashes in the water beside the island green at TPC Sawgrass, the straight-up party at the 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. There is also a specific buzz, then blast of noise that only a few of the sport’s biggest names — Tiger, Phil, Rory — get when they are doing something special.

Late Friday afternoon, Phil Mickelson stood in the middle of the 18th fairway. His approach shot landed a few inches from the hole and settled tidily next to the pin for a tap-in birdie to finish off a highlight-reel 63. The Travelers isn’t a major, but it now annually gets an elite field and usually has loyal, large galleries. The 18th green, normally, always sits full, the ovations are always appreciative and, in special cases, like when Jordan Spieth holed out from the bunker to win in 2017, the cheers are overwhelming .

The sound of Mickelson, a fan favorite, finishing off a 63 to head into the weekend as the sole leader of the Travelers would have had your eardrums ringing the entire car ride home. Instead, as the ball narrowly missed going in for an eagle 2, there was one low, muted “Ooooh” from a volunteer seated next to the green.

“Even though it’s quiet and it doesn’t have the same atmosphere, it still is cool that we’re able to do this,” Mickelson said.

He, like everyone, is still learning. And that was what this week was about for the PGA Tour, although surely commissioners of major sports and Division I athletic directors were paying close attention, too. Because this week, 5.3% of NBA players tested came back positive. Health experts expressed concern as Major League Baseball approaches its restart. The Clemson football team announced 14 more positive tests, running its total to 37. Golf, despite being best built for a social distance, saw how quickly the virus can spread.

On Tuesday, all seemed well. Then, late in the afternoon, Cameron Champ withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19, giving the PGA Tour its second positive test. The next morning, the rumblings started that there were more withdrawals on the way. First, it was Graeme McDowell who pulled out after his caddie tested positive. Then the biggest name so far exited, with Brooks Koepka removing himself from the field after his caddie also tested positive. Koepka’s withdrawal carried significant weight, and not simply because he is a four-time major champion and currently the fourth-ranked player in the world but because not 24 hours earlier, he had stressed how seriously he was taking the virus.

“I’ve told everybody on my team they’re pretty much on lockdown,” he said the day before his withdrawal. “If they don’t want to do that, then they don’t have to be with us. It’s pretty simple. I told [swing coach] Claude [Harmon], I’ve got my chef that’s traveling with me, and I brought basically my own gym, I brought free weights, bands. Everything you see in a gym, we’ve brought. There’s no reason that anybody should leave the house. The chef obviously leaves the house to go get food, but that’s about it. But she’s still using the best face mask, everything she can when she gets back, washing her hands, doing all these things, and just trying to limit our exposure. I think that’s been the big thing.”

Koepka tested negative, but to his credit, for the safety of those he might be paired with or practicing next to and for the overall health of the sport, he packed up his things. In a cruel twist, his brother left, too. Chase Koepka survived a five-players-for-two-spots playoff in a Monday qualifier just to get in the Travelers field. Brooks was there, at Ellington Ridge, about 25 miles down the road from TPC River Highlands, to watch his brother earn a spot. The next day, Brooks talked glowingly about his brother, how excited he was to have him in the field, how hard he knows it is for Chase to be in the shadow of his brother. But just like that, they were both gone. Webb Simpson, who won the week before at the RBC Heritage, also withdrew after a family member tested positive for the virus.

Suddenly, the mood had changed. The rest of Wednesday’s player interview sessions were called off, replaced with a 2 p.m. news conference from PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. A little after it was announced, the time was pushed to 2:30 p.m. There were growing rumblings that, perhaps, the event would be called off, that the PGA Tour was headed back toward lockdown. There was another scenario at work at the same time that day: Connecticut, where the Travelers was being played, New York and New Jersey had announced they were requiring visitors from nine states to quarantine for two weeks. Two of the states on the list? Texas and South Carolina. The two previous stops, before the Travelers? The Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, and the RBC Heritage, in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

But Monahan did not put another freeze on golf; instead, he implemented stricter protocols and promised “severe repercussions” to those who ignored the guidelines.

“We knew it would be impossible to eliminate all risk,” Monahan said.

The idea of a full stop never started.

“I think people — you hear one or two positive tests and people are panicking, and I saw a couple of calls to shut the tournament down, which is silly from my point of view,” Rory McIlroy said. “You know, I thought [Monahan] did a really good job explaining. There’s been almost 3,000 tests administered. The percentage of positive tests is under — it’s a quarter of a percent.”

On Friday, Denny McCarthy withdrew after testing positive. One of his playing partners, Bud Cauley, withdrew out of precaution. Although Cauley tested negative, he admitted he wasn’t feeling well and decided not to play on. That brought the total to seven coronavirus-related exits from the Travelers. The third member of that group, Matt Wallace, remained.

“I was scared,” Wallace said about the moment he found out McCarthy tested positive and Cauley wasn’t feeling well.

And that led to question, fair or not, for Wallace: Should he still be here? Should he have followed McCarthy and Cauley even though he had tested negative?

“Well, I’ll put it to you: Do you think I should have played?” he asked.

Therein lies the entire conversation: Nothing about this return to golf was going to be easy. He could have followed “the abundance of caution” approach. Fair argument. But he also tested negative. The spotlight is going to be cast on players who haven’t asked for it and who have done nothing to warrant it.

“I’m playing with a chance to change my career if I win, so why wouldn’t I play,” he said. “It’s black and white for me. I tested negative and I can go play.”

But while he waited, he was on property, keeping to himself.

But this week, the cloud of uncertainty wasn’t done. On Saturday morning, Jason Day asked to be tested again. He had an 8:19 a.m. tee time. Clearly, he wasn’t going to get a result in time. So his tee time was pushed back. He didn’t play with Rafa Cabrera Bello and Rogan Sloan, as scheduled. Instead, as the tournament leader Mickelson teed off on the first hole with Will Gordon and MacKenzie Hughes, a few hundred yards away at the 10th tee, at the exact same time, Jason Day was started his round all by himself, not knowing whether he was positive or negative.

The result came in a few holes later. He was negative; had he been positive he would have been removed from the course midround and put into isolation.

Shortly after the PGA Tour announced his negative result, it announced another change to the protocols, their second such announcement in four days. Going forward, beginning at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, players would not be allowed on site at an event until they got back a negative test result.

No, none of this was ever going to be easy. So each week, the Tour will learn and adjust, along with the players and caddies and staff and the rest of the watching sports world.

And this week — the continued silence, the seven withdrawals, the two different players out on the golf course all by themselves, two separate announcements of changes in protocol — served as reminders of that simple, undeniable truth.

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Travelers Championship: Tee times for final round in Connecticut

Groups and tee times for the final round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.

USA unless stated; all times BST

Starting at hole 1

1335 Ian Poulter (Eng), Greg Chalmers (Aus)

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1345 Sungjae Im (Kor), Shane Lowry (Irl)

1355 Roger Sloan (Can), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa)

1405 Luke Donald (Eng), Scott Brown

1415 Russell Henley, Richy Werenski

1425 Austin Cook, Patrick Reed

1435 Jordan Spieth, Byeong-Hun An (Kor)

1445 Jason Day (Aus), Kevin Chappell

1455 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Michael Thompson

1505 Joseph Bramlett, Lucas Glover

1515 Henrik Norlander (Swe), Chez Reavie

1525 Aaron Wise, Troy Merritt

1535 Mark Hubbard, Harold Varner III

1545 Doc Redman, Emiliano Grillo (Arg)

1555 Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia (Spa)

1605 Jhonattan Vegas (Ven), Marc Leishman (Aus)

1615 Tyler Duncan, Joel Dahmen

1625 Brandt Snedeker, Hank Lebioda

1635 Paul Casey (Eng), Sung Kang (Kor)

1645 Sam Burns, Patrick Cantlay

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1655 Si Woo Kim (Kor), Joaquin Niemann (Chi)

1705 Adam Long, Xander Schauffele

1715 Lanto Griffin, Tom Hoge

1725 Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Ryan Armour

1735 Wesley Bryan, Brian Stuard

1745 Will Gordon, Jon Rahm (Spa)

1755 Zach Johnson, Brendan Steele

1805 Kyle Stanley, Viktor Hovland (Nor)

1815 Phil Mickelson, Charley Hoffman

1825 Patton Kizzire, Abraham Ancer (Mex)

1835 Scott Stallings, Seung-Yul Noh (Kor)

1845 Bryson DeChambeau, Kevin Na

1855 Kevin Streelman, Mackenzie Hughes (Can)

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PGA Tour requiring negative test to enter ‘bubble’

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  • Joined ESPN in 2008
  • Graduate of the University of Maryland

CROMWELL, Conn. — In the aftermath of seven withdrawals related to the coronavirus at this week’s Travelers Championship, the PGA Tour on Saturday implemented a new policy that will prohibit players from coming on property while waiting for their first test result in a new city.

Beginning at next week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, all those considered “inside the bubble” by the PGA Tour — players, caddies, instructors, physios and staff — will need a negative result before being permitted on the grounds at Detroit Golf Club.

“Over the past three weeks as part of its Return to Golf, the Tour has been committed to learning from an operational standpoint and adjusting protocols in place in order to mitigate risk and promote the health and safety of all involved, including players, caddies, staff and volunteer,” the PGA Tour said in a statement.

Previously, the Tour allowed players and caddies to come on site while awaiting results of their tests. For instance, Cameron Champ, who tested positive and withdrew from the Travelers field on Tuesday, was at TPC River Highlands this week while awaiting the result. He was not permitted inside the clubhouse or the locker room, but he was allowed on the golf course, practice range and putting green alongside fellow tour pros, caddies and staff.

That will not be allowed going forward.

This rule change, however, is not being enacted on the Korn Ferry Tour, the statement said, because of longer turnaround time on tests results.

In response to withdrawals earlier this week, the Tour issued stricter protocols including adding an extra test and expanding the circle of those who would require tests to include instructors. Three players and two caddies — including Brooks Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott — tested positive and pulled out of the event and two other golfers withdrew as a precaution.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan promised “severe repurcussions” for anyone who did not adhere to the protocols.

This new policy, however, does not cover players who are waiting for additional tests during the week. On Saturday at the Travelers, Jason Day asked to be tested again for COVID-19. The Tour pushed his original tee time back, moving him from 8:19 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. He also played by himself. While he waited for the result, which came back negative, he was allowed on the property, the practice area and the golf course.

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Travelers Championship tee times Round 3: Groups, full schedule, McIlroy chases Mickelson

Phil Mickelson holds the lead at TPC River Highlands after shooting the second-lowest 36-hole total of his playing career but Rory McIlroy is among those in the chasing pack. Mickelson had carded an impressive six-under par in the opening round and he continued that good form into Friday.

Paired alongside big-hitters McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau, Mickelson was the one who shone on Friday’s session.

The 50-year-old carded five birdies on the back nine to give him the overnight lead ahead of Will Gordon and Mackenzie Hughes, both of whom sit one shot behind on 12-under par.

McIlroy though is among the next group of players with a strong chance of making a charge being on nine-under par.

There are 11 players all sitting on eight-under par overall for the tournament, including Mickelson’s playing partner from the opening two rounds in DeChambeau.

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But there was a further blow to the event as Denny McCarthy became the latest player to pull out of the Travelers Championship on Friday after being the third player in a week to test positive for coronavirus.

Bud Cauley and Matt Wallace were paired with the American and the former also withdrew, but the English golfer chose to play on, although he failed to make the cut.

Due to inclement weather being expected on Saturday afternoon, the field will tee off of split tees from 7am ET (12pm BST).

A full list of tee times and groupings for Saturday’s action is available below.


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Travelers Championship tee times, pairings in Round 3

All times BST

Hole No. 1

12:15 p.m. — Russell Henley, Jon Rahm, Jim Furyk

12:25 p.m. — Luke Donald, Joaquin Niemann, Sam Burns

12:36 p.m. — Lucas Glover, Louis Oosthuizen, Scott Stallings

12:47 p.m. — Emiliano Grillo, Kyle Stanley, Mark Hubbard

12:58 p.m. — Patrick Cantlay, Ryan Armour, Lanto Griffin

1:09 p.m. — Seung-Yul Noh, Wesley Bryan, Dustin Johnson

1:20 p.m. — Troy Merritt, Bryson DeChambeau, Brian Stuard

1:31 p.m. — Viktor Hovland, Patton Kizzire, Abraham Ancer

1:42 p.m. — Kevin Na, Sung Kang, Zach Johnson

1:53 p.m. — Brendon Todd, Marc Leishman, Kevin Streelman

2:04 p.m. — Xander Schauffele, Brendan Steele, Rory McIlroy

2:15 p.m. — Phil Mickelson, Will Gordon, Mackenzie Hughes


  • Rory McIlroy net worth: How much has he earned as PGA Tour restarts?

Hole No. 10

12:15 p.m. — Tyler Duncan, Si Woo Kim, Sergio Garcia

12:25 p.m. — Charley Hoffman, Joseph Bramlett, Richy Werenski

12:36 p.m. — Joel Dahmen, Doc Redman, Scott Brown

12:47 p.m. — Harold Varner III, Michael Thompson, Aaron Wise

12:58 p.m. — Shane Lowry, Paul Casey, Tom Hoge

1:09 p.m. — Rafa Cabrera Bello, Roger Sloan, Jason Day

1:20 p.m. — Kevin Chappell, Jordan Spieth, Ian Poulter

1:31 p.m. — Greg Chalmers, Byeong Hun An, Henrik Norlander

1:42 p.m. — Jhonattan Vegas, Brandt Snedeker, Chez Reavie

1:53 p.m. — Austin Cook, Patrick Reed, Adam Long

2:04 p.m. — Sungjae Im, Hank Lebioda

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Matt Wallace plays on after Denny McCarthy’s positive coronavirus test

Matt Wallace has defended his decision to play on during the second round of the Travelers Championship, despite his playing partner testing positive for coronavirus.

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Travelers Championship

Wallace’s playing partner Denny McCarthy withdrew after becoming the third PGA Tour in eight days to receive a positive coronavirus test, with Bud Cauley also pulling out as precaution despite two separate tests coming back negative.

The Englishman and his caddie also tested negative ahead of the second round, with Wallace believing they had done everything correctly to be able to continue.

My thoughts of today over on Instagram @PGATOUR

“I don’t think I should be in any way a negative here,” Wallace said. “I don’t think I should be put in that spotlight at all. I’ve done everything else that any other player has done and I’ve tested negative. I’m in the same boat that they are.

“It’s just the fact that the player partner that I had yesterday felt ill last night with whatever they did from leaving us on the golf course, because I’m guessing they tested negative at the start of the week to now, where I’m still negative.

“It’s up to me, so clearly it’s my decision. I mean, it’s black and white in my situation. I stayed well clear of them yesterday, no fist bumps, none of that.

“I’ve done everything at night that I have done the last three weeks while testing negative, I just got some food, stayed in the hotel room, came up here, got tested, tested negative. Dave tested negative, we’re all clean, we went out and played, that’s pretty much it for me.”

Wallace was left playing on his own as a result of the two withdrawals, with the world No 47 going on to miss the cut after carding a two-over 72.

“I’m playing with a chance to change my career if I win, so why wouldn’t I play?” Wallace added. “It’s black and white for me. I tested negative and I can go play.

“Just a bit frustrated that maybe — I don’t know what the PGA Tour might think, but would DJ (Dustin Johnson) play on his own? Would Rory (McIlroy) play on his own? I probably doubt it.

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Mickelson surges into Travelers Championship lead, McIlroy four back

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.

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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