Vintage Phil Mickelson Shoots 69, Leads PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the 4th hole during the second round of the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort on May 21, 2021 in Kiawah Island, SC. (Photo by Darren Carroll PGA of America via Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson overcame a brutal stretch on his outward nine to post a 3-under 69 and claim a share of the halftime lead at the PGA Championship.

Mickelson, who started his second day at the Ocean Course on No. 10, birdied the par-5 11th to quickly get in the red. But the 50-year old ran into trouble with a bogey on the 13th hole, and then dropped back-to-back shots on 17 and 18 to turn in 2 over and even-par for the tournament.

After a par to settle down, Mickelson turned back the clock and reeled off five birdies in his final eight holes to reach 5-under par.

The final birdie on no. 9 was vintage Lefty – a 25-foot bomb that sent the 6-deep gallery surrounding the green into an absolute frenzy.

“It’s really fun obviously to make a putt on the last hole to finish a round like that,” said Mickelson in a post-round interview with ESPN.

“And then to have to have that type of support here has been pretty special. It’s been a lot of fun so far.”

Louis Oosthuizen joined Mickelson atop the 36-hole leaderboard with a round of 68. The South African held the outright lead until a dropped shot on the final hole.

Still, the 2010 British Open champion was satisfied with his day.

“Drove it as good as I can drive it, and ball-striking was pretty good with the irons,” said Oosthuizen.

“With really windy conditions, you need that ball-striking to be on song.

“Probably gave myself, I don’t know — I think I hit 14 or 13 greens around this golf course in today’s conditions is pretty good.”

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka on the 7th green during the second round of the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort’s Ocean Course on May 21, 2021 in Kiawah Island, SC. (Photo by Patrick Smith via Getty Images)

Brooks Koepka was next at 4 under par following a second-day 71. The four-time major winner is the clear favorite heading into the weekend, and was having none of the concerned talk about wind or conditions.

“It’s a major, man. It’s going to be tough, especially with the wind blowing. It doesn’t matter, just go out and go play,” said the blunt-talking Koepka.

Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (68) was among a trio at T4 on 3 under, one clear of a group which included 2019 U.S. Open winner Gary Woodland (71), and two ahead of reigning U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau (71), who bogeyed 14 and 18 to fall back to 1 under.

Defending PGA champion Collin Morikawa was 1-over par following a 75, as was Lee Westwood (72) and Will Zalatoris (74), among others.

Next were Patrick Cantlay (73) and Tony Finau (72) who headlined a group at 2 over.

Rickie Fowler shot a 4-over 76 but made the cut with a 3-over score, alongside Rory McIlroy (72), Jon Rahm (75), Justin Rose (75), and others.

Jordan Spieth (75) was in a group at 4-over par, one clear of the final lot at T63, who snuck into the weekend on 5 over, including Patrick Reed (75) and Webb Simpson (74).

World Nos. 1, 2 and 4: Dustin Johnson (74), Justin Thomas (75) and Xander Schauffele (77), respectively, were sent packing at 6 over par.

For DJ, he becomes the first world No. 1 since Greg Norman in 1997 to miss the cut in two straight majors. Thomas, meanwhile, owns a T21 and MC in his two major starts, and is quickly earning a reputation as big-stage flop.


2021 PGA Championship


Top-10 Leaders: Round 2

Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Phil Mickelson -5 (-3)
1. Louis Oosthuizen -5 (-4)
3. Brooks Koepka -4 (-1)
4. Hideki Matsuyama -3 (-4)
4. Chris Bezuidenhout -3 (-2)
4. Branden Grace -3 (-1)
7. Paul Casey -2 (-1)
7. Kevin Streelman -2 (E)
7. Sungjae Im -2 (E)
7. Corey Conners -2 (+3)
7. Gary Woodland -2 (E)

Watch Phil Mickelson Birdie His Final Hole in Round 2


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