Mickelson not trying to match McIlroy and DeChambeau’s secret to success

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Phil Mickelson said that realising he cannot out-hit Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau has improved his game after taking the lead at the Travelers Championship.

Mickelson carded a seven-under-par 63 to surge a stroke clear at the halfway stage of the PGA Tour tournament on Friday.

The five-time major champion holed eight birdies and a bogey to be 13 under through 36 holes at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut.

Eyeing his 45th PGA title, Mickelson – a two-time winner of the event – said: “I made some strides in the sense that I didn’t try to go toe-to-toe with two of the longest guys in the game, Bryson [DeChambeau] and Rory [McIlroy].

“I ended up hitting some three-woods on some of those holes because it fit my game better, and fortunately, I made a couple of birdies. I’m thinking about number seven as an example, where they hit driver and I hit three-wood and was still able to make birdie.

“Playing my game and the way the course set up for me was a challenge when you’re playing with guys that hit it like that, but it allowed me to play some good golf.”

World number one McIlroy dropped down two spots to be four shots off the pace following his second-round 68, which included four birdies and two bogeys.

Xander Schauffele (68), Brendan Steele (62), Brendon Todd (65) and Marc Leishman (65) are also nine under heading into the weekend.

“I know what it feels like to go low out here, so I’ll need a couple of good ones over the weekend,” McIlroy said. “But the game feels in decent shape, and obviously get out early tomorrow [Saturday] and try to get back in the mix.”