3 things you should know from Round 2 of the Travelers Championship

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the 7th hole at TPC River Highlands on Friday.

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The leader is newly 50 and a five-time major champion. One of the players a stroke behind is 23 and playing on a sponsor’s exemption. Each has sailed through two rounds. As much as they are different, they are the same. Here are three things you should know after Friday’s second round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. 

Phil Mickelson leads

Fifty fits Phil fine. 

In his second round since turning 50 years old last week, Phil Mickelson fired a 7-under 63 to grab a one-shot lead over two players. He started the second round four shots out of the lead and bogeyed his 2nd hole, then shot 8-under from there, making birdies on 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15 and 18. 

As he walked off 18, Mickelson gave his patented thumbs-up to playing partners Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau. Fifty fits Phil fine. 

“I made some strides in the sense that I didn’t try to go toe-to-toe with two of the longest guys in the game, Bryson and Rory,” Mickelson said. “I ended up hitting some 3-woods on some of those holes because it fit my game better, and fortunately I made a couple of birdies. I’m thinking about No. 7 as an example, where they hit driver and I hit 3-wood and was still able to make birdie. Playing my game and the way the course set up for me was a challenge when you’re playing with guys that hit it like that, but it allowed me to play some good golf.” 

Who’s in contention and who’s cut?

A stroke behind Mickelson were Will Gordon and Mackenzie Hughes.

Gordon is the 2019 Southeastern Conference player of the year. He finished 21st last year on the money list on the Mackenzie Tour. He’s playing on a sponsor’s exemption. He’s now a shot out of the lead on the PGA Tour. 

“Being kind of at the mercy of the Monday qualifiers and sponsor exemptions makes you really thankful for the opportunities you do have,” Gordon said. “But I mean, I can’t force it and I can’t try to – if it was all up to me, I’d have my PGA Tour card right now, but it’s not. So I’ve just got to take it with stride and have fun and do it confidently.”

Gordon tied for the day’s low round with an 8-under 62. Hughes had Thursday’s low round, a 60, and followed it up with a 2-under 68. Three shots behind them were six players, including world No. 1 McIlroy and Xander Schauffele, and 10 players were at 8-under, including DeChambeau.

Among the players not making the cut was Collin Morikawa, who had made 22 straight cuts to make his pro career. The only player to have a longer streak was Tiger Woods, with 25 straight cuts.   

Two players withdraw

Denny McCarthy tested positive for Covid-19 and withdrew from the tournament prior to Friday’s second round. One of his first-round playing partners, Bud Cauley, also withdrew, as a precautionary measure. 

The WDs join a handful of players and caddies who have dropped out. Earlier in the week, Cameron Champ tested positive and withdrew, Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell both withdrew after their caddies tested positive, Webb Simpson withdrew after a member of his family tested positive, and Chase Koepka, the younger brother of Brooks Koepka who had to Monday-qualify to get in the field, also withdrew as a precautionary measure.

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