Breakdown of the 2020 Travelers Championship leaderboard, conclusions: Phil Mickelson jumps to the top after Round 2

In a year of unexpected plot twists, perhaps the greatest of all (at least in the course) has arrived this week, as Phil Mickelson leads the Travelers Championship after two rounds in his first start at age 50. .

As you already know, if you’ve been following all this week, this is not a drill. Mickelson has been brilliant for two days in a row in Connecticut, where he was a two-time former winner and now takes a small lead in round 3 on Saturday. Let’s jump into their second round, who’s chasing and how this TPC River Highlands is going to go this weekend.

1. Phil Mickelson (-13) – Earlier this week, I literally spoke the words, “I don’t know what the path is to win the PGA Tour in its 50th year for Phil Mickelson.” Prescient, I know. Mickelson backed his 64th Thursday with a 7-under 63 on Friday and leads the event after 36 holes of play at TPC River Highlands. Even more incredibly, he played alongside the Tour’s best player, Bryson DeChambeau, and the world’s best player, Rory McIlroy. He bit them both in style.

The scary part here is that it’s not just a hot putter that is pushing Lefty to the top of this board. He’s second on the field from the tee to the green and (I can’t believe he’s writing this) driving it wonderfully so far this week; Hitting 19 of 28 lanes for Mickelson is like a minor player hitting them all. Only a handful of golfers have won a tournament in their 50s, and only Craig Stadler did so in their first start after turning 50. Mickelson has a chance to join both lists this weekend.

S2 Will Gordon, Mackenzie Hughes (-12) – Who’s Will Gordon? He is the 2019 SEC Player of the Year for the Vanderbilt Prize semi-finalist and Ben Hogan (others include Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff, and Collin Morikawa, maybe you’ve heard of them?). He has worked primarily on the Mackenzie Tour for much of his short career (this is his eighth start on the PGA Tour). Now he leads both the tournament and this field in blows won. The first is exciting because Gordon is a good player with a great future ahead of him on the PGA Tour. The latter could foreshadow a weekend fading as it is shooting at an unsustainable pace.

T4 Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Brendon Todd, Marc Leishman, Brendan Steele (-9) – When a player shoots 68-63 for the first two days, we commend them for having all the momentum for the weekend. When they shoot 63-68 like Xander Schauffele did, we are concerned that they may be stopping before the third round. The reality here is that it doesn’t matter how you got to 9 below, only that you got to 9 below. Schauffele is one of the top 10 players in the world, and because he is in the top 10 this weekend, he is a favorite to win at TPC River Highlands. He held it together with a blazing putter on Friday, but the iron game will have to improve if he wants to have a shot at another Tour victory.

Rory was pretty average Friday at TPC River Highlands. The good thing for him is that he ran early on Thursday at that 7-under 63, so he will still have a late tee time on Saturday in Round 3. He didn’t hit the ball well in Round 2, but The good news if you’re Rory’s fan is that he hasn’t putted yet. During the first two rounds, he has made only four putts at 8 feet, while he has made 23 at less than 3 feet. If that changes everything this weekend, he will win.

T10 Kevin Streelman, Kevin Na, Sung Kang, Zach Johnson, Viktor Hovland, Patton Kizzire, Abraham Ancer, Troy Merritt, Bryson DeChambeau, Seung-Yul Noh (-8) – I love a course where both Zach Johnson and Viktor Hovland can have this kind of success. Their games couldn’t be more different: Hovland reaches standard deviations beyond Johnson, and Johnson has a short game Hovland could only dream of, yet here we are at 9 p.m. on the weekend. It would be even better if they had a tee time together to accentuate the point.

Three takeaway food

• Collin Morikawa’s 22 straight cut streak to start his career stops three times less than Tiger Woods’ 25 record for starting a professional career. Morikawa is no doubt running out after nearly winning the Charles Schwab Challenge and working to make the cut at RBC Heritage. It’s going to be very good for a long time, and the 22 cuts in a row are evidence of how good it already is.

• Player to watch out for when we enter Round 3 on Saturday: Sergio Garcia. He had an incredible weekend in Harbor Town last week, and is again in the top 20 in shots taken from the tee to the green, even if his ranking position doesn’t reflect that.

• Another weekend, another fabulous leaderboard. The departure times will be early on Saturday due to the bad weather forecast, which actually feels normal given the current sports scene. I’m excited for Saturday morning with this board, which has it all: recent elite fans, one of the top 10 golfers in history, the best player in the world, cleats from Ryder Cup teams and the Bryson robot . If you can’t get excited about the fact that that group is taking a course that is dying to provide a 59, then I don’t know what will end it properly.

CBS Sports was with you the entire time updating this story with the latest scores, updates and highlights from the Travelers Championship below. Check out live scores at the top of this story or a more detailed one classification table.