Halfway hut at the PGA Championship: Magic Mickelson ties for the lead

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes of the year’s second Major at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

Since turning 50 last June, Phil Mickelson has done very little to suggest he can add to his extraordinary tally of 44 PGA Tour wins.

The left-hander has complained of lack of focus and many have said it's time for Phil to turn his attention fully to the Champions Tour where he could potentially clean up.

And yet, here we are after 36 holes of the PGA Championship and Mickelson is leading a Major once more. Phil just keeps on truckin'.

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Mickelson won the last of his five Majors in 2013 so it's still a massive ask from here to turn this excellent position into a sixth. And it's made even harder by the quality around him.

Tied for the lead is former Open winner Louis Oosthuizen. In third, there's four-time Major champion Brooks Koepka. Sharing fourth is newly-crowned Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama.

But with Kiawah Island again proving a tough, tough test on Friday - no-one has shot a bogey-free round so far - many of the game's leading stars are heading home.

There will be no Dustin Johnson after the World No.1 missed the cut by one. Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele are also done for the week so that's three of the world's top four already eliminated.

Others such as pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy have a mountain to climb. The Northern Irishman bogeyed his final three holes to drop eight back and, as you'll see in the stats section, history says that's too many.

Just 18 players are still under par for the week after Friday's conditions caused more mayhem and the betting has a fairly open look to it with 13 players quoted at 28/1 or lower.

Paddy Power odds after 36 holes: 4/1 Brooks Koepka, 11/2 Louis Oosthuizen, 15/2 Hideki Matsuyama, 12/1 Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, 18/1 Corey Conners, 20/1 Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, 22/1 Gary Woodland, 25/1 Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, 28/1 Joaquin Niemann, 40/1 Kevin Streelman, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry, 50/1 Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from Kiawah Island after 36 holes.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats and facts

Mickelson ranks 1st for Birdies with 12 and, almost remarkably given his wayward driving down the years, 1st for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee. He's 9th for Approach, 38th Around The Green and 22nd for Putting so it's his long game doing the heavy lifting so far.

Joint-leader Oosthuizen has made just three bogeys which is the joint fewest in the field. He's used a balanced attack to hit top spot, ranking 8th for SG: Putting and 9th Tee To Green.

Koepka, who had two eagles on his card in a round two 71, is ranked 1st for SG: Approach, picking up 7.204 shots on the field after 36 holes. He's also 1st SG: Tee To Green although will want his putting a little sharper. He lost strokes on the greens in round two (-0.784) and is only 42nd for SG: Putting.

And now some bad news for the chasing pack. Each of the last 33 Major winners were no more than six shots behind after 36 holes. That's just about okay for the +1s such as Collin MorikawaLee Westwood and Will Zalatoris but not good news for Rory or Jon Rahm who are both eight back at +3.

Since 2000, 12 second-round leaders/co-leaders at the PGA Championship have gone on to win so it's a good place to be. If successful, Mickelson would become the oldest Major winner in history.

The obvious downside for Oosthuizen is that he's yet to post a win on American soil.


Phil Mickelson on having a blast

"I've driven it well, but I think the thing I've done the best is my brother Tim and I have done a really good job of judging the wind, judging the flight and picking clubs with the right flight to get the right distance, and so we've hit a lot of iron shots pin high.

"To know I'm playing well heading into the weekend, to be in contention, to have a good opportunity, I'm having a blast. I'm excited for the weekend. This has been a lot of fun."

Louis Oosthuizen on finding a groove

"Drove it as good as I can drive it, and ball-striking was pretty good with the irons. With really windy conditions, you need that ball-striking to be on song. Probably gave myself, I don't know -- I think I hit 14 or 13 greens around this golf course in today's conditions is pretty good.

"I did a bit of work last week with my coach and just sort of got a feeling in my swing back from a long time ago and started driving it again this week like the way I know I can hit a driver. That made my longer irons and my ball-striking a lot better.

"I've worked really hard on my putting especially and feel like that's probably the best I've rolled it in a long time, so it's great to know that the driver swing and the long iron swing is back, especially in these conditions. I just need to stay in it this weekend and try not to play myself out of it tomorrow."

Brooks Koepka grading his Friday round of 71

"C-plus. I missed that short one on 4, missed a short one there again on 16. I thought I struck it great. I drove it a lot better. But it's tough to putt in this wind, man. Sometimes you're playing the wind, and sometimes you don't. The wind might take it a little bit, but you're also not trying to firm it, either, and have another three-footer coming back. I understand everybody else is probably going to miss a few short ones with this wind, but I ball struck my way around this golf course.

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(On treating his knee that is still recovering after surgery) "Probably go home, ice, Mark will work on me, flush me out, just check the knee and probably ice it some more. I did stuff before we came out to play, so I got all my rehab done earlier."

Hideki Matsuyama on the key to his 68

"I really hit my driver and second shots very well today, and that gave me a lot of birdie opportunities, which I was able to capitalise on."

Christiaan Bezuidenhout on moving up to T4 after a 70

"I had a better ball-striking day today than what I had yesterday. I gave myself a lot more looks, and my putter is heating up nicely, so hopefully I can keep that going for the next couple of days."

Branden Grace on enjoying the Kiawah test

"I've contended in these big events before. There's no reason why I can't contend in them now, especially around a golf course like this. It kind of goes into my -- into how I like to play golf. I love the dive-off courses, and it's just literally getting the ball low, getting it on the ground and letting it run and be creative around the greens and really commit to what you want to do."

Bryson DeChambeau on his Friday play and making a move on the weekend

"I played pretty well despite the conditions. I didn't take advantage of 10 and 11, which kind of throttled my momentum a little bit, and unfortunately golf is a game of momentum. 13, hit two good shots there, and it bounced one yard short of the green and didn't bounce up next to the hole and had a 30-footer consequently. 14, should have hit 7-iron, should have made sure I was a little short, and actually the 6-iron went too long left and got absolutely into no man's land, had to get out there and make a save, a bogey.

"I actually hit it pretty well coming in. It's just the ball didn't seem to want to go on the fairway or go on the green.

"I think if I could put a good number up tomorrow, hold strong in the wind and shoot 2-, 3-under tomorrow, I'll be right there for Sunday. I'm just creeping up that leaderboard slowly but surely, and if I can do that like I did at Winged Foot, that's A-Ok with me."

Rory McIlroy after his poor finish

"I played well. I just didn't get a lot out of the round. Yeah, that was really it. Sort of kept it together, and sort of just let it go there the last three holes.

"I haven't played the par-5s well this week. That's been the big thing. If I'd have played those better, I'd have been right up there, but making five bogeys on the par-5s is not going to get it done."


Thumbs up from Phil, mini-Koepka, Harry Higgs' amazing finish, a mind-blowing Majors stat and a synchronised Bee Gees strut from McIlroy and Koepka!

Thumbs up from Phil

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Mini Koepka

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Harry Higgs ends with a bang

Bonkers Brooks stat

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Rory and Brooks strutting their stuff

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READ MORE: What they said: The best quotes from the first round of the PGA Championship

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