Mickelson leads Travelers in first event since turning 50

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Phil Mickelson looks on after putting on the 14th green during the second round of the Travelers Championship golf tournament at TPC River Highlands, Friday, June 26, 2020, in Cromwell, Conn. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

CROMWELL, Conn. – Phil Mickelson figures age might be an asset.

Playing his first tournament since turning 50 this month, the five-time major champion shot a 7-under 63 on Friday in the Travelers Championship to take a one-stroke lead into the weekend.

Lefty said said it was perhaps the wisdom that comes with his age that made him stay within himself instead of going toe-to-toe with his long-hitting playing partners, top-ranked Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau.

“There’s some holes I can open it up and try to hit driver, but really I just want to get it in play on a lot of holes and let my wedges take over, and I’ve hit a lot of good wedge shots this week,” said Mickelson, the 2001 and 2002 tournament winner.

Two more players withdrew because of the coronavirus Friday — Denny McCarthy for a positive test, and Bud Cauley, who tested negative, but decided to pull out after playing alongside McCarthy on Thursday. There have been seven COVID-19-related withdrawals.

Mickelson was at 13-under 127.

First-round leader Mackenzie Hughes followed an opening 60 with a 68 to drop into a second-place tie with 23-year-old Will Gordon, who led most of the day after shooting an early 62.

Since winning at Pebble Beach early last year for his 44th PGA Tour title, Mickelson has mostly struggled, with far more missed cuts than good finishes.