LIV Golf London 2022: Charl Schwartzel Maintains Lead; Phil Mickelson Shoots 75

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 10, 2022

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Charl Schwartzel of Stinger GC putts on the 16th green during day one of the LIV Golf Invitational - London at The Centurion Club on June 09, 2022 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/LIV Golf/Getty Images)
Charlie Crowhurst/LIV Golf/Getty Images

After ending the first round of the inaugural LIV Golf event in London in first place on Thursday, Charl Schwartzel remained atop the leaderboard Friday through two rounds of play.

Schwartzel shot a four-under 66 during Friday's second round at Centurion Club, putting him at nine under par for the tournament, which is three shots ahead of second-place golfer Hennie Du Plessis.

Phil Mickelson, who is a six-time major champion and LIV Golf's biggest star, struggled to a five-over 75 on Friday and is well off the pace at four-over for the tournament.

Here is a look at the top of the LIV Golf leaderboard with two of the three rounds in the books:

1. Charl Schwartzel: -9

2. Hennie Du Plessis: -6

3. Peter Uihlein: -4

4. Ollie Bekker: -3

T5. Scott Vincent: -1

T5. Dustin Johnson: -1

T5. Sam Horsfield: -1

T5. Phachara Khongwatmai: -1

Schwartzel, who led Du Plessis by one shot after the first round, carried his high level of play over to the second round, especially on the greens.

Using his trademark long putter, Schwartzel sunk numerous long putts throughout the day to remain ahead of the rest of the field:

LIV Golf @LIVGolfInv

The lone leader πŸ‘<br><br>Schwartzel -6<br>Du Plessis -4<br>Bekker -2<br>Grace -2<br>Vincent -1<br>Khongwatmai -1<br>Uihlein -1<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LIVGolf?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LIVGolf</a>

LIV Golf @LIVGolfInv

Catch him if you can πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ<a href="https://twitter.com/CA_Schwartzel?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CA_Schwartzel</a> for -7<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LIVGolf?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LIVGolf</a> <a href="https://t.co/rGMZDHnDi0">pic.twitter.com/rGMZDHnDi0</a>

The 2011 Masters champion made birdie on the 18th hole as well, extending his lead to three shots over his South African countryman in Du Plessis.

Schwartzel and Du Plessis make up half of Stinger GC, which leads the team event by seven strokes at 15-under for the tournament.

Matt Vincenzi of Golf WRX noted that Schwartzel stands to earn a huge amount of money if he and Stinger finish atop their respective leaderboards:

Matt Vincenzi @MattVincenziPGA

If Charl Schwartzel and the Stingers hang on in London, he’ll make 4.75m this week. Which is more than he’s made in the past 5 seasons combined.

Schwartzel hasn't won on the PGA Tour or European Tour since 2016, but he is in ideal position to end his drought Saturday.

While Schwartzel opened the second round with the lead, many eyes were on Mickelson, who is LIV Golf's highest-profile player.

After posting a solid one-under first round and being in the hunt, Lefty had a much tougher go of things Friday.

Although he didn't have many highlights, he did manage to save part on a nice up-and-down out of the woods:

LIV Golf @LIVGolfInv

How it started ➑️ How it ended<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LIVGolf?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LIVGolf</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/PhilMickelson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PhilMickelson</a> <a href="https://t.co/MvwNDBbr9e">pic.twitter.com/MvwNDBbr9e</a>

At No. 15, Dustin Johnson is the highest-ranked player in the world competing in the first LIV Golf tournament, and he is inside the top five at one-under for the tournament.

DJ enjoyed a solid even-par day thanks to some good work with his putter and irons on approach shots:

LIV Golf @LIVGolfInv

πŸ¦… mode<br><br>Here comes <a href="https://twitter.com/DJohnsonPGA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DJohnsonPGA</a> up to fourth place at -2<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LIVGolf?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LIVGolf</a> <a href="https://t.co/B0JdQPeu4j">pic.twitter.com/B0JdQPeu4j</a>

LIV Golf @LIVGolfInv

It's <a href="https://twitter.com/DJohnsonPGA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DJohnsonPGA</a> making moves πŸ‘€<br><br>Stream now πŸ‘‰<a href="https://t.co/ggQLRIBZIk">https://t.co/ggQLRIBZIk</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LIVGolf?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LIVGolf</a> <a href="https://t.co/eHYy3QAlxn">pic.twitter.com/eHYy3QAlxn</a>

Johnson is eight strokes off the lead, but if he goes low on Saturday, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him finish inside the top two to four spots.

The 2016 U.S. Open and 2020 Masters champion announced this week that he resigned from the PGA Tour and is committed to LIV Golf moving forward.

His LIV career is off to a strong start, but he has a lot of work to do if he wants to challenge Schwartzel for the first win in LIV Golf history.