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Will Gordon earns more PGA Tour opportunities with strong Travelers finish; Phil Mickelson runs out of gas, but sees positives

The Hartford Courant — By Shawn McFarland The Hartford Courant

June 28-- CROMWELL, Conn.-Will Gordon, a 23-year-old Vanderbilt alum without his PGA Tour card or status on the Korn Ferry Tour, played a few roller-coaster rounds at the Travelers Championship.

On Friday, he shot an 8-under 62 to climb into a tie for second. On Saturday, he came back down to earth with a 1-over 71 to tie for 13th, and much further away from a temporary exemption to continue playing on tour.

He rallied on Sunday though, with a 6-under 64 that tied him for third with Mackenzie Hughes. Not only was it the best finish of his young professional career, but it helped gain him a temporary tour card, giving him unlimited exemptions to continue playing on tour.

"I know how hard it is to back up a really good score," Gordon said. "I know how to handle that, but I didn't handle it well yesterday. So I think when you don't handle something well, your mind refocuses, and I've got to do a little better job of backing up that score, but I did a really good job of bouncing back today."

Gordon played on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada last year, though its 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19. The 2019 SEC golfer of the year played at the Travelers Championship on a sponsors exemption.

"I knew something in the top five would maybe have a chance," Gordon said. "But I mean, like I said, I can't control it. I knew the higher the better."

LEFTY REDISCOVERS TRAVELERS FORM

After missing the cut at last year's Travelers Championship, a tournament he had won twice in the past, Phil Mickelson's frustration and dismay was clear.

"It's a little disappointing because I really felt like my game was coming around," Mickelson said last year. "This is a good golf course for my game, too. Just unfortunately didn't put it together ... This was a disappointing day for me."

This year, though, was different for the lefty. He shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to take sole possession of first place after the first two rounds at 13-under, one of the best rounds of his season.

He couldn't carry that success into the weekend, shooting 1-over on Saturday and Sunday, finishing 11-under for the tournament, and tied for 24th. Still, he saw positives in his game this week.

"So I'm looking at this week as progress," Mickelson said. "Certainly the goal is to win golf tournaments, but keep in mind I've missed a bunch of cuts. I haven't played to the level I've wanted to, and this week I came in and had a lot of great finds. I hit a lot of good shots, hit a lot of good tee shots. My misses were much better."

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