Phil Mickelson birdied four of his last five holes Friday in the Desert Classic to take a two-stroke lead into the weekend in his first PGA Tour event of the year.
A day after matching his career-low score with 12-under 60 at La Quinta Country Club in Riverside County, the 48-year-old Mickelson had a 68 on PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16-under.
“I struck the ball every bit as well, I just didn’t putt anywhere close to as well as I did yesterday,” said Mickelson, the tournament winner in 2002 and 2004.
Mickelson will play the final two rounds on PGA West’s Stadium Course.
Curtis Luck was second after a 66 on the Nicklaus layout. Adam Hadwin (66) and Steve Marino (65) were 13-under, and defending champion Jon Rahm (66) was another stroke back with Wyndham Clark (67) and Joey Garber (64).
LPGA Tour: Brooke Henderson shot a 4-under 67 to improve to 10-under 132 for a two-shot lead in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, the winners-only start to the LPGA Tour season at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Ariya Jutanugarn, the No. 1 player in women’s golf who captured every major award last season, shot 67, leaving her two shots back and tied for second along with Lydia Ko (68) and Eun-Hee Ji (67). Stacy Lewis, in her first tournament as a mother, followed her opening 66 with a 74.
Photo: Donald Miralle / Getty Images
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The field also has 49 athletes and entertainers competing in a modified Stableford format for a $500,000 purse. Former tennis player Mardy Fish posted 39 points for the second straight day, but with bogeys over his last two holes, his lead was down to one point over former Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz.
PGA Tour Champions: David Toms shot his second straight 7-under 65 to take a four-stroke lead in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship i Kailua Hawaii. Joe Durant, tied for the first-round lead with Toms, had a 69 to drop into a tie for second with Tom Lehman (65).
European Tour: Shane Lowry birdied the three par-3 holes for the third straight day at the Abu Dhabi Championship in shooting a 5-under 67 in the third round to improve to 17-under 199 and extend his lead to three strokes over Richard Sterne (69).
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