Phil Mickelson knew that expectations were going to be high on Friday following his opening-round 60 in the Desert Classic. As he stated after the career-low to par round, "anything short of victory" would be a failure. The thing is, he has experience in this position, having carding a first-round 60 at the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open and eventually winning the event by four strokes. But this week would be more difficult, as he faced two new courses in the next two rounds following his first at La Quinta Country Club.
And yet, Mickelson was up to the challenge, even if that challenge had it's share of bumps. After making two early birdies on the back nine of the Nicklaus Tournament Course, a double bogey at the par-4 18th brought him back to even on the day, bringing everyone chasing that much closer to his now slim lead. The five-time major winner responded to that adversity with a back-nine 32, giving him a four-under 68, good enough to remain in the solo lead at 16-under 128.
Close behind is Curtis Luck, who fired a second-round 66 to go with his career-low opening 64. He's two off Mickelson's lead at 14-under 130.
Adam Hadwin kept it rolling at what has to be his favorite event on tour, posting a six-under 66 at La Quinta Country Club, the site of his 59 in 2017. He's tied for third at 13-under 131, and has played his last 14 rounds in 72-under par at the Desert Classic. He's joined at 13 under by Steve Marino, who shot a seven-under 65 at La Quinta.
Defending champion Jon Rahm carded his second-straight 66, this one at the Nicklaus Tournament Course. He's four back of Mickelson at 12-under 132.
Up-to-the-minute leader board and other scoring information for the Desert Classic, PGA West, La Quinta, California, Jan. 17-20, 2019