Mickelson maintains Desert Classic lead

Phil Mickelson, who posted a career-low 60 in round one, carded a four-under-par 68 at the at the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday.

Phil Mickelson   -  (Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson maintained his lead at the halfway stage of the Desert Classic, where the American veteran is two shots clear.

Mickelson, who posted a career-low 60 in round one, carded a four-under-par 68 at the at the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday.

The five-time major champion had a double-bogey and six birdies to be 16 under through 36 holes in La Quinta.

The split-tee format had Mickelson starting on the par-four 10th hole. His second round was nearly spotless before making the turn, but a double-bogey at the 18th stained his scorecard.

Mickelson was able to recover through his last nine holes with four birdies, including one on the final hole of the day.

Australian Curtis Luck sits in sole possession of second place following a six-under-par 66 on day two of the PGA Tour tournament.

Adam Hadwin (66) and Steve Marino (65) - who nailed a hole-in-one on the par-three seventh - are a stroke further back at 13 under.

Defending champion Jon Rahm is in a three-way tie for fifth place after matching his first-round score of 66 with seven birdies and a lone bogey.

Sam Saunders - Arnold Palmer's grandson - and Mexican pro Carlos Ortiz shot up the leaderboard to join a sizeable tie for 11th place at 10 under.

Saunders carded a six-under-par 66 to jump 20 spots with fellow Americans Vaughn Taylor (66) and Michael Thompson (66).

Ortiz had nine birdies and one eagle to jump a whopping 103 places — six of the nine birdies and the eagle were made after the turn.

World number one Justin Rose also improved to move into a tie for 28th at eight under following back-to-back 68s.

Play will continue to be split up between the Stadium Course, the Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club, and after the first three rounds are completed on Saturday, the cut rule will kick in.