After two rounds of golf at the Wells Fargo Championship, Phil Mickelson is the man to beat. "Lefty" seized sole control of the lead after turning in a 67 on Friday to put him at nine-under par heading into the weekend.
Mickelson wasn't the only big name in the hunt, though. No. 2 golfer in the world Rory McIlroy continued his quest for the championship by remaining in the top 10 despite firing a 71 in the second round.
After seven golfers were tied for the lead at the conclusion of Round 1, Round 2 proved to separate some of the pretenders from the ones that will be serious threats to earn the victory this weekend.
Here's a look at how the top 10 shakes out heading into the final two rounds. For the complete leaderboard and scores, check out PGATour.com.
|Position||Player||Rd. 1||Rd. 2||Overall|
Note: All statistics and video are courtesy of PGATour.com.
Here are some of the highlights that came from Friday's action.
Phil on Fire
Mickelson had the magic touch all day. He set himself up with a birdie putt on No. 1 after a nice 97-yard approach shot and never looked back:
He would go on to birdie Nos. 2,7,9, 14 and 15. The only blemish on his otherwise great round of golf was a bogey on No. 12—a hole that he parred in Round 1.
When Lefty is on, he's still one of the best golfers in the world. He's got the hot hand right now and will be tough to overcome down the stretch.
Rory Struggles, but Still Lurking
McIlroy came out on Thursday like a man possessed. His Day 1 67 had him tied atop the leaderboard with a slew of other contenders.
His moments of brilliance were more sporadic Friday, but this approach shot on No. 8 was definitely a highlight:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
[WATCH] @McIlroyRory (-6) had 3 birdies on the card en route to 71, including this crowdpleaser on #8: http://t.co/1igJFFd7Ub5/3/2013, 5:45:01 PM
If he can continue to display that kind of control throughout the weekend while eliminating some of the sloppy play from Round 2, he'll be a threat to Mickelson going forward.
Scott Gardiner Emerges as Contender
Scott Gardiner wasn't among the logjam of contenders atop the leaderboard after Day 1, but he's right in the thick of things at the end of Round 2.
He was locked in with the putter all day and tied Mickelson for the best round of the day at 67.
The Australian failed to register a bogey and racked up five birdies on the front nine. After missing eight consecutive cuts, he's poised to win a tournament.
Whether or not he can continue at this pace will be one of the interesting storylines to watch this weekend.