For the second straight round, Phil Mickelson saved his best for last.
A day after shooting 4-under 32 on the Ocean Course’s back nine, Mickelson racked up five birdies in a bogey-free front nine, his second nine, en route to a second-round, 3-under 69 Friday morning at the PGA Championship.
Mickelson’s round, which earned the 50-year-old lefty a one-shot clubhouse lead at 5 under when he finished, included six total birdies and three bogeys. He started his scoring with an easy up-and-down birdie at the par-5 11th hole before bogeying Nos. 13, 17 and 18 to lose his momentum by the turn.
But he rebounded in a huge way in the front. After another stress-free birdie at the par-5 second, Mickelson stuck his approach inside 4 feet at the par-4 fourth before sinking at 15-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth.
He then two-putted for birdie from 56 feet at the par-4 seventh, and two holes later he capped his round with a 23-foot birdie at the par-4 ninth.
Since 1958, when the PGA moved to its current stroke-play format, the only player at age 50 or older to hold at least a share of the 36-hole lead is Sam Snead, at age 54, in 1966. The last player aged 50 or older to be in the top five through 36 holes of a major championship was Fred Couples at the 2013 Masters. The oldest player to ever win a major is Julius Boros at the 1968 PGA Championship (48 years, 4 months, 18 days).
Mickelson hasn't recorded a major top-10 since the 2016 Open Championship, when he finished runner-up to Henrik Stenson.