Wells Fargo Championship: Phil Mickelson moves into halfway lead at Quail Hollow
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK. Last Updated: 04/05/13 8:02pm
Phil Mickelson: Produced another putting masterclass to move clear
Phil Mickelson shot a fine second round of 67 to open a two-shot lead at the halfway point of the Wells Fargo Championship.
The four-time major champion, who posted an opening 68, went one better on Friday as he made light of the tricky greens at the Quail Hollow Club to finish the day at nine-under-par.
Mickelson mixed six birdies with just a solitary bogey and incredibly has yet to miss a putt from inside 10 feet during the first two days of competition, holing 32 from 32 attempts.
He got off to the perfect start with birdies at the first and second and two more at seven and then nine following a huge breaking putt ensured he hit the turn in just 32 strokes.
The sole blemish on his card arrived at the tough par-4 12th hole, but he responded with some superb scrambling skills to birdie both 14 and 15 to pull clear at the top of the leaderboard.
Earlier in the day it had been Australian rookie Scott Gardiner who posted the clubhouse target as he fired an excellent 67 of his own to reach seven-under before being eclipsed by Mickelson.
Gardiner was joined by American duo Nick Watney (70) and George McNeill (68) in a tie for second, while European hopes were carried by Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy who both ended three shots off the pace on six-under.
Second round leaderboard
(US unless stated)
-9 P Mickelson
-7 S Gardiner (Aus)
-7 G McNeill
-7 N Watney
Click here for collated scores
McIlroy mixed three birdies and two bogeys during his round of 71, while Westwood moved himself into contention on the back of a four-under-par 68.
Another Englishman, David Lynn, also posted a 68 as he pushed himself into the top-10 ahead of the weekend.
A delighted Mickelson said afterwards: "I think tee to green it's one of the best (courses) we have, one of the best I've ever seen in the game and it's very fun to play.
"It has a feel of a major championship in that you have to hit certain spots, control it and miss in the right spot and be strategic around the greens.
"It's a tournament I've had many opportunities to win, I've had great finishes here but I haven't capped it off and, as this is a tournament I always put on my schedule and enjoy playing so much, it would mean a lot to win."