Halfway leader Phil Mickelson believes his “straighter” driving off the tee is affording him the chance to be aggressive at the Desert Classic.

Phil Mickelson (3/1 Desert Classic Outright) remains the man to catch at the Desert Classic in California after carding a four-under 68 on day two.

The American held a three-shot lead after his exploits on day one, having shot a career-best 60, and he was in confident mood as he started out in the second round.

A mid-round double bogey threatened to undo his hard work, although he recovered to end strongly with birdies on four of his final five holes.

His mistake on the 18th offered hope to Curtis Luck to close the gap but the Australian, who carded a 66 after his opening round of 64, ended the day two shots adrift on 14-under.

Mickelson was aggressive throughout his round, even after slipping up, and he has vowed to continue with that approach for the remainder of the event in California.

“I’m starting to drive the ball a lot longer and straighter than I have in a while and so that sets up nicely for that course,” Mickelson said. “I feel like I can play aggressively with the way I’m hitting it off the tee.

“It was a good way to finish the round today. I struggled that front nine doing not too much and then I doubled that 18th hole. But I ended up birdieing four of the last five and turned it around and really I struck the ball every bit as well, I just didn’t putt anywhere close to as well as I did yesterday.”

World number one Justin Rose has plenty of work to do after successive rounds of 68 left him eight shots off the lead, while Spain’s Jon Rahm (4/1 Desert Classic Outright) sits in a tie for fifth on 12-under.

Odds subject to change.

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