Phil Mickelson holds a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Travelers Championship, with Rory McIlroy in the chasing pack.
The 50-year-old posted a bogey-free 63 at TPC River Highlands to get to 13 under and a stroke clear of overnight leader MacKenzie Hughes and Will Gordon, a sponsor’s invite, who had set the early target by equalling the lowest round of the day with a eight-under 62.
Hughes followed his opening-round 60 with a two-under 68 to join Gordon on 12 under, with McIlroy heading into the week four strokes back and in the group tied-fourth.
Mickelson was four off the pace after an opening-round 64 and slipped further behind with a bogey at the second, only to respond by holing out from the sand at the fifth and making a tap-in birdie at the seventh.
The five-time major champion made back-to-back birdies around the turn, converting from 15 feet at the ninth and tenth, before adding three straight gains from the 13th – including a 30-footer at the 14th – and picking up a shot at the last to set the clubhouse target.
Gordon, world No 561, made his charge up the leaderboard with six birdies in an eight-hole stretch around the turn, while Hughes is also one off the pace after mixing four birdies with two bogeys.
McIlroy, playing alongside Mickelson, rolled in from six feet at the third but failed to get up and down to save par at the fifth, before posting a two-putt birdie at the sixth and salvaging a bogey at the eighth after finding water off the tee.
A monster tee shot at the ninth helped set up a six-foot birdie and he added another at the 11th, although he heads into the weekend on nine under after closing his back nine with seven straight pars.
Brendan Steele birdied his last four holes to match Gordon’s 62 and join McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Brendon Todd and Marc Leishman on nine under, with Bryson DeChambeau a further stroke back after a three-under 67.
Denny McCarthy withdrew ahead of the second round after becoming the third PGA Tour player to test positive for Covid-19, with Bud Cauley – who played alongside McCarthy – also pulled out as a precaution despite receiving two negative tests.
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