A week after his 50th birthday, Phil Mickelson proved Friday that he isn't ready to leave the PGA Tour for the Champions circuit.
The five-time major champion fired a 7-under-par 63 to take a one-shot lead in the second round of the Travelers Championship at Cromwell, Conn.
Mickelson is at 13-under 127 at the midway point. Will Gordon was the early clubhouse leader at 12 under following an 8-under 62 earlier Friday at TPC River Highlands.
First-round leader Mackenzie Hughes of Canada was at 12 under with two holes to play.
Mickelson is playing his first event since reaching the milestone birthday. He missed the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge two weeks ago when the PGA Tour returned from its three-month, pandemic-prompted hiatus, then didn't play last week in the RBC Heritage.
He began slowly Friday, recording a bogey and three pars on his first four holes, before making eight birdies and six pars the rest of the way. Mickelson recorded three consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-15, highlighted by sinking a 33-foot putt on No. 14.
At the par-4 18th hole, Mickelson fired his 118-yard approach shot within 3 feet of the cup, then sank the birdie putt for the outright lead.
Gordon had been on top earlier, a surprise from a 23-year-old who is in the event due to a sponsor's exemption.
"Here we are, so keep it rolling," Gordon said during a television interview.
Gordon, a Vanderbilt product, drained nine birdies and had one bogey while finishing his round at 12-under 128. He started on the back nine and shot 30 and followed up with a 32 on his final nine holes.
"Just tried to come into today with a really positive mindset and aggressive mindset, and I was able to do that and execute early," Gordon said in a press conference. "Whenever I get that momentum early, I usually don't let it go, so I was pretty proud of myself and how I hung in there early."
Gordon birdied eight of his first 11 holes while soaring up the leaderboard. His final birdie came on his next-to-last hole at No. 8.
Gordon's lone bogey came on the par-4 12th hole.
His best PGA finish occurred last November when he tied for 10th at the RSM Classic.
Hughes was looking to build on the 10-under 60 he fired in the first round.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (68 on Friday) and the U.S. duo of Xander Schauffele (68) and Brendan Steele (62) sit at 9-under 131.
Schauffele and McIlroy each shot a 63 in Thursday's first round.
"I mean, realistically, if you're playing really good golf, there's no reason to not shoot a pair of 63s," Schauffele said after his round. "I've done it at home a bunch."
Meanwhile, Denny McCarthy withdrew after becoming the third PGA Tour player to test positive for COVID-19.
McCarthy shot a 3-under-par 67 during the first round on Thursday.
"I was feeling pretty tired and sore after the round yesterday but didn't think much of it because I had practiced a lot Monday to Wednesday," McCarthy said. "Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night with additional aches and soreness and sensed something was off. I felt like the only thing to do was get tested at that point before I went to the course."
McCarthy must self-isolate for at least 10 days, per tour protocols.
He and Bud Cauley, who pulled out Friday as a precaution, became the seventh and eighth players to withdraw from the Travelers.
Nick Watney tested positive last week after playing one round in the RBC Heritage and is now recuperating, while Cameron Champ tested positive Tuesday and pulled out of the Travelers.
Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell pulled out of the Travelers on Wednesday after their caddies tested positive -- Ricky Elliott, who works for Koepka, and Ken Comboy, who works for McDowell. Brooks Koepka's brother, Chase, also exited in a precautionary move.
Webb Simpson withdrew Wednesday due to a family member testing positive.
--Field Level Media