Published: Sun, January 20, 2019
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Mickelson maintains 2-shot lead

Mickelson maintains 2-shot lead

Phil Mickelson followed his career-best 60 with a four under 68 to hold a two-shot lead midway through round two at the Desert Classic in California.

Phil Mickelson birdied four of his last five holes Friday to take a two-stroke lead into the weekend in his first event of the year.

Mickelson's 16-under total of 128 put him two strokes in front of Australian rookie Curtis Luck, who grabbed his eighth birdie of the day at his final hole - the ninth - to post a 66 on the Nicklaus course and a 14-under par total of 130.

The lowest round ever recorded on the PGA Tour was by Jim Furyk in 2016. "I haven't really had the intense practice sessions that I would like, but I felt like all parts were OK and it just clicked".

"You just have to keep firing on all cylinders and going after birdies because this is a course where there's going to be a lot of birdies", he said.

Mickelson, playing his first tournament of 2019, called it a "fun, if not surprising, start" to his year.

Hadwin had seven birdies and one bogy in a 66 at La Quinta, where Mickelson fashioned his 60 a day earlier. "And I hit a good shot, I had 18 feet though", he said.

"If you shoot six-, seven-under par on the Nicklaus course that's a good solid round", he said.

Luck, who at 22 is 26 years Mickelson's junior, was let down by a pair of bogeys on par 3s coming home, including a painful one at his penultimate hole.

'I really didn't think that this was going to be a day that I was going to go low, ' said Mickelson. He's the first No. 1 player to play the tournament since the world ranking began in 1986.

World No 1 Justin Rose shot a four-under 68 on the more hard Stadium Course.

"I feel uncomfortable right now because I don't know them well enough and I've been trying to get a seminar to learn them all, and I just haven't had time or a chance to", he said. "Birdieing my last three to get it to four-under kind of made me feel good".

Play will continue to be split up between the Stadium Course, the Nicklaus Tournament Course, and La Quinta Country Club and after the first three rounds are completed Saturday, the cut rule will kick in. Check in for highlights from every tournament plus player interviews, player profiles, tournament previews, swing analysis and all the greatest shots and fantastic moments.

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