PGA Tour Champions 2020: Phil Mickelson Leads at 17 Under After Round 2

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

Phil Mickelson refers to his notes as he walks up onto the 14th green during the second round of the Northern Trust golf tournament at TPC Boston, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Norton, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Phil Mickelson is 18 holes away from his first PGA Tour Champions victory in the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National. 

Mickelson cooled off a bit after going 10 under in the first round, but he still sits atop the leaderboard with a four-shot lead on Tim Petrovic and Rod Pampling. The five-time major champion carded a seven-under 64 on Tuesday to move to 17 under for the tournament.


Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National Leaderboard

1. Phil Mickelson (-17)

2. Tim Petrovic (-13)

3. Rod Pampling (-13)

4. Rocco Mediate (-12)

5. K.J. Choi (-11)

T6. Steve Stricker (-10)

T6. David McKenzie (-10)

T8. Retief Goosen (-9)

T8. Ken Duke (-9)

T8. Robert Karlsson (-9)

T8. Bernhard Langer (-9)

Full leaderboard available at PGATour.com


Early on, another 10-under round looked to be within reach after Mickelson collected five birdies on the front nine. Pretty much everything was going his way.

After winding up with a difficult lie on the par-five ninth hole, he eschewed a more conventional iron for his driver. Not only did he get himself out of danger, but he also earned a birdie.

PGA TOUR Champions @ChampionsTour

“Give me the driver.” - @PhilMickelson https://t.co/mGG5lZM5e6

Mickelson bogeyed No. 10 to begin the back nine but rebounded with back-to-back birdies. He was mere inches away from an eagle on No. 12 as his tee shot rolled to a stop just to the right of the cup.

PGA TOUR Champions @ChampionsTour

.@PhilMickelson with a NEAR Ace. https://t.co/coG1f4fxjQ

According to PGATour.com, Mickelson is 137th this season in strokes gained on the approach to the green (minus-0.129). His 63.51 percent GIR (greens in regulation) rate is also 189th.

In contrast, his approach game at Ozarks National has been on point.

PGA TOUR Champions @ChampionsTour

.@PhilMickelson putting on a clinic with his 8th birdie of the day. https://t.co/HPLzWuuyoP

PGA TOUR Champions @ChampionsTour

Short game starting to shine for @PhilMickelson (-13). https://t.co/oxmDQEva0v

While the tournament is far from over, Mickelson is clearly in the driver's seat.

Petrovic kept pace with the leader, matching his five-under 31 prior to making the turn. He slowed down a bit on the back nine, collecting only two birdies the rest of the way. 

Petrovic's final birdie required some tidy work with the putter:

PGA TOUR Champions @ChampionsTour

Tim Petrovic with a looong putt. He pulls within two of Phil. https://t.co/YtvW5SMLdA

David McKenzie was only one shot back of Mickelson after Monday. He slipped down the leaderboard and into a tie for fifth place on Tuesday, though. Given how low the scores are, a one-under 70 won't cut it in terms of title contention.

McKenzie's round started brightly with two straight birdies on the first two holes. That didn't portend good things to come, and his momentum stalled with bogeys on No. 8 and 9.

Petrovic, Pampling, Rocco Mediate and K.J. Choi are all within striking distance of Mickelson but will likely need a lot of help from the 50-year-old if one of the three is going to come out on top Wednesday.