The fifty-year-old Michelson is the oldest player to lead the tournament after Fred Kobels, who enjoyed similar moments during the Masters in 2012, when he was 52. If Mickelson repels the attack of younger opponents at the weekend, he could break the record for Julius Burrus. This was Major 48’s biggest winner so far, when he won the PGA Championship in 1968.
“It’s really fun,” said Michelson. “Playing like this last hole punching, finishing a round like this and enjoying this kind of support is something special.” He won his last five major trophies in 2013 (at the British Open). “I have to be patient. I’m going to the weekend with hope,” added the golfer, nicknamed Lefty, who is not in the top 100 world rankings.
Behind the lead couple, Brooks Koepka, champion of the 2018 and 2019 championships, is third despite having knee surgery in March. Three other players are retreating, including April Masters winner Hideki Makogama of Japan.
On the one hand, inclement weather and the longest course in the history of major Ocean Courses in South Carolina have buried the hopes of the other favorites. World number one Dustin Johnson and runner-up Justin Thomas was unsuccessful in the cut. Johnson did not reach the final even at the Masters tournament, but he would maintain his place on the world throne.