Golf: Taylor still ahead by two at Pebble Beach halfway mark, with Day and Mickelson in chasing pack

Nick Taylor plays his shot from the ninth tee during the second round of the US PGA Tour Pebble Beach Pro-Am event on Feb 7, 2020.
Nick Taylor plays his shot from the ninth tee during the second round of the US PGA Tour Pebble Beach Pro-Am event on Feb 7, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Australian Jason Day and defending champion Phil Mickelson were on the heels of Nick Taylor on Friday (Feb 7), as the Canadian maintained a two-shot lead in the US PGA Tour Pebble Beach Pro-Am event.

Taylor, chasing his second US tour title, fired a six-under 66 at Pebble Beach Golf Links - one of three courses in use for the tournament along with the par-72 Spyglass Hill and par-71 Monterey Peninsula Shore Course.

After his 63 at Monterey Peninsula, Taylor had a 14-under total of 129.

Former world No. 1 Day shot an eight-under 64 at Pebble Beach for a 12-under total of 131, while Mickelson, a five-time winner of the event, carded a seven-under 64 at Monterey Peninsula for an 11-under total of 132.

"I hit some really good shots coming in and made all the putts," said Taylor, whose seven birdies included four in his last five holes.

"It was nice to get off to a really good start - I was three-under through six," the 31-year-old said. "I made some good pars in the middle of the round - actually made a good bogey save at the 12th hole - and made some really nice putts coming in the last five holes."

After his lone bogey of the day at No. 12, he drained an 18-foot birdie at the 14th and a four-footer at the 15th. He rolled in a nine-footer at No. 17 and a 16-footer at the last to cap his round.

Day climbed the leaderboard with a bogey-free effort at Pebble Beach, where the final round will be played on Sunday.

Along with an eagle at the par-five 14th - where he chipped in from 40 yards out - the 32-year-old notched six birdies, including a 23-foot birdie at the 18th.

"I would like to win," said the 2015 PGA Championship winner, who has been a consistent top-10 finisher at Pebble Beach for the last six years.

"That's the main goal is to try and win one. But I've played very well here. I love everything about Pebble and the landscape that all three golf courses that are on."

Mickelson had an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys at Monterey Peninsula, falling back with a bogey at his final hole, the ninth.

 

The 49-year-old will play Pebble Beach on Saturday, while Taylor and Day move to the hardest course in the rotation, Spyglass Hill.

"I think the forecast is for a bit of wind (Saturday) so, Spyglass, there will be some challenging holes up by the water," Taylor said. "(I'll) just keep my head down and try to make some birdies."