Phil Mickelson proved that age is no barrier to his game as he stormed into 9/2 joint-favouritism for the Travelers Championship by claiming a one-shot lead at the halfway stage in Connecticut.
‘Lefty’ improved on his opening round with a blistering 63, despite making a slow start on Friday with a bogey and three pars in his first four holes.
However, Mickelson found his mojo from then on, firing eight birdies, including one at the last after a brilliant approach to within three feet, to move to 13-under-par, one stroke clear of the field heading into the weekend at TPC River Highlands.
The five-time Major winner turned 50 earlier this month and he admits that he is relishing the opportunity to prove he can still cut it with the sport’s young guns now dominating the game.
“I certainly enjoy the challenge trying to play my best against these great players that are coming up,” Mickelson said.
“So, for me to be able to put myself in contention and hopefully win some tournaments would be a lot of fun and a great accomplishment, and those guys like Larry Nelson and Davis (Love 111), who have won aged 50 or older have shown a lot of resolve and determination.”
Will Gordon (20/1 Outright) went one better than Mickelson on Friday with a scintillating 62 to move into contention, just one shot off the lead at -12.
The American shares second place with first-round leader Mackenzie Hughes (11/1), who couldn’t follow up his sensational opening 60 and had to settle for a 68.
Rory McIlroy was also subdued in his second round, matching Hughes’ 68 after his first-round 63, but remains very much in contention at -9, and is the 9/2 joint favourite with Betfred to go on to win the tournament.
The world number one is in a five-strong group alongside Xander Schauffele (8/1), Brendan Steele, Brendon Todd and Marc Leishman, all four shots off pacesetter Mickelson.