Playing some of his best, healthiest golf in more than two years, Jason Dufner fired a 65 to take a 1-stroke lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge on Friday in La Quinta, California.
Dufner is 15-under for the tournament, holding a one-stroke lead over fellow American Jamie Lovemark. Dufner started his round with six birdies in the first nine holes, giving him 14 birdies in 27 holes on the tournament. He finally committed a bogey on No. 10, but added birdies on 12 and 14 to counter-balance it.
Lovemark would have been tied for the lead but he bogeyed No. 18 after chalking up six birdies and an eagle 2 on No. 1.
A further 17 players are within five strokes of the lead, all at least 10-under on the player-friendly course. One of those is Phil Mickleson, who shot a 65 to drop to 11-under over the first two days.
Winless on the PGA Tour since his triumph at the 2013 Open Championship, Mickeslon rolled off four straight birdies on the back nine.
Dufner’s Day 1 co-leaders all fell back, with Anirban Lahiri tied for third at 12-under, Jerry Kelly tied for 15th at 10-under, and Jeff Overton dropping all the way to a tie for 19th at 9-under after a ho-hum 71 on Friday.
If Dufner can keep up his torrid pace, he’ll have a shot at breaking the tournament record of 28-under set two years ago by Patrick Reed.