Phil Mickelson Muscles His Way Up the P.G.A. Championship Leaderboard

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“It basically goes 20 yards short of his driver,” Tim Mickelson said. “It’s like a 12½-, 13-degree, something like that. It basically goes plenty far, but having that smaller head, you just have a touch more confidence that it’s going to go straighter.”

Mickelson started Friday’s round on the back nine, where he fought 20-mile-an-hour winds, as did the rest of the field, and made the turn at two over par. But Mickelson had five birdies for a 31 on his closing nine — and he nearly eagled the par-5 seventh hole.

Twenty minutes after his round was over, the excitement of the moment had not diminished.

“To know I’m playing well heading into the weekend, to be in contention, to have a good opportunity,” Mickelson said. “I’m having a blast.”

Throughout Friday’s round, there was considerable movement on the leaderboard. The first-round leader, Corey Conners, bogeyed five of his first six holes and stumbled to a three-over-par 75. Will Zalatoris, the tour rookie who has ascended to 30th in the world rankings, slumped with a 74 Friday after shooting a one-under 71 in the first round. Jon Rahm, ranked third worldwide, shot a frustrating 75 to fall to three over for the tournament. Justin Rose, another pre-event favorite, matched Rahm’s 75 and was also at three over.

Jordan Spieth shot 75 as well and was at four over at the tournament midpoint. Dustin Johnson, the game’s top-ranked player, continued the uneven play he has consistently exhibited since late February with a 74 that followed a first-round 76.

With many golfers still completing their second rounds Friday evening, a trio of players held their positions just below the leaders: Gary Woodland, the 2019 United States Open champion, Kevin Streelman and Sungjae Im each shot rounds of 72, which left them two under for the championship.

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