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    • The Upshot: Waste Management Phoenix Open, Round 2

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    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While one popular left-hander rallied just to make it to the weekend, another remained atop the leaderboard at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Bubba Watson shot a 66 Friday to share the lead with Matt Jones at 12 under at TPC Scottsdale. The second round was suspended by darkness at 6:05 p.m. local time. The cut will remain at 1-under despite four players returning to complete their rounds at 7:30 a.m. 

    Winless since his 2012 Masters victory, Watson birdied three of his first six holes before adding four more birdies over his final eight holes.

    He could have been in the lead alone if not for a couple of late bogeys after failing to get up and down for par on the par-3 seventh and par-4 ninth holes. Still, he has plenty of reason to be pleased after going winless the last 21 months.

    “I will take it,” he said. “It's right where I want to be going into the weekend.”

    Watson hit just 12 greens in regulation on Friday, but made some great recovery shots to save par. He also made birdie putts of 9, 10 and a 30-footer on the eighth -- his 17th hole. Watson switched putters at last week's Farmers Insurance Open before switching back to his old one. He ranked 69th out of 73 players in strokes gained-putting at Torrey Pines, but ranks 16th this week.

    Jones, meanwhile, finished his round with four birdies over his final six holes.

    The Aussie is seeking his first career win on the PGA TOUR. His best finish was a tie for second at last year’s Greenbrier tournament.

    Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, will be around for the weekend. 

     

     

     


     

     

    LOW ROUND OF THE DAY: With TPC Scottsdale continuing to play under par, plenty of players put up low numbers on Friday, none better than Brandt Snedeker’s 64.

    Snedeker, who finished second here a year ago and has two other top 10s in the event, birdied three of his first five holes in the second round and ended the day with seven birdies and no bogeys.

    As a result, he jumped from a tie for 50th at the start of the day to a tie for eighth.

    The difference?

    Putting.

    Snedeker took five fewer putts on Friday with 25 in all, including 11 one-putts.

    “I feel like I'm putting great again,” he said. “I feel like I figured out what was going on with my putting. If I get my ball-striking back to where it was (Thursday), I should be in great shape heading into the next two days.”

     


     

    MICKELSON STILL IN MIX: At one point, it looked like a sore back might keep Phil Mickelson out of the Waste Management Phoenix Open altogether.

    Friday, though, he looked much sharper than in his opening round when he struggled to a round of even par.

    "I didn't make too many sloppy swings," said Mickelson, who shot 67 and hit twice as many fairways (10) as he did on Thursday and missed only four greens in regulation. "My distance control was back on.

    "I don't know if I'm too far back or not, but on this golf course you can really make some fireworks happen."

    He should know. A year ago, Mickelson nearly carded a 59 -- albeit in the first round -- before his birdie putt on the final hole lipped out.

     


     

    FOWLER AMONG THOSE TO MISS CUT: Four players failed to finish the second round before darkness fell on Friday -- they’ll return at 7:45 a.m. local time to finish.

    Keegan Bradley won’t be one of them.

    Bradley, who had yet to finish outside the top 20 in four starts in the 2013-14 season, had the highest score of his career on Friday, carding an 80 to miss the cut.

    The 2011 PGA champion had eight bogeys, one triple bogey and two birdies. The only score higher in the round belonged to Joey Snyder III, who shot 83.

    For Bradley, it was a 14-shot swing in the wrong direction from his opening round as he fell from a tie for 10th to a weekend off.

    Other notables who failed to make the even-par cut included Ian Poulter (69-75), Billy Horschel (71-72), Rickie Fowler (71-72) and Lee Westwood (67-75).

     

     

     

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