SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson flirted with the PGA TOUR's 36-hole scoring record on Friday before making a water-logged double bogey on the 18th hole at TPC Scottsdale.
The two-time Waste Management Phoenix Open champion is right where he wants to be, though --- alone at 17 under after Friday's 65, four strokes ahead of his nearest competitor, Bill Haas. Mickelson has a two-day total of 125, which ties the midway mark at TPC Scottsdale set by Mark Calcavecchia in his 2001 victory.
Haas made up ground with a 64 in the second round while Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker are tied at 12 under, another stroke off the pace. Bradley shot a 63 while the reigning FedExCup champion shot 66.
Snedeker and Haas came to Phoenix with momentum, too, after tying for second and ninth at last week's Farmers Insurance Open. Mickelson, on the other hand, was searching for form after finishing T37 and T51 in his first two starts.
After rounds of 60 and 65 before an adoring crowd, Arizona State's favorite son certainly appears to have found it.
That said, Mickelson was obviously disappointed with his finish on Friday. But at the same time, he could see an upside as he contemplated a weekend of competition he said would be a "shootout."
"I think it's very possible that's going to help me because it's got me refocused, that I cannot ease up on a single shot," Mickelson said. "... These guys are going to make a lot of birdies and I've got to get after it and cannot make those kinds of mistakes.
"Hopefully it'll help me refocus for tomorrow's round and come out and shoot something low."
Mickelson, Haas and Bradley will play together in the final group on Saturday. The three have history together -- Haas beat the other two in a playoff at the Northern Trust Open 50 weeks ago after Bradley and Mickelson both birdied the 72nd hole to force sudden death.
Not to mention, MickMickelson and Bradley teamed for three emotionally-charged wins at the most recent Ryder Cup. Mickelson played with Haas on the last Presidents Cup in Australia, too.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There's a been-there, done-that feel to the top of the leaderboard at the Waste Management Phoenix Open right now.
Phil Mickelson has opened a three-stroke advantage at 15 under after making four birdies in his last six holes. Keegan Bradley has already posted 12 under after shooting 63 on Friday but Bill Haas has gotten to that number, as well, and he has seven holes to go.
The same three players figured prominently into the outcome at the Northern Trust Open 52 weeks ago. Haas closed with a 69 at Riviera and ended up beating Mickelson and Bradley, who played in the day's final group, in a playoff that both birdied the 72nd hole to make.
A final pairing featuring the three would be interesting. But a decision on whether the third round will be contested in threesomes or twosomes won't be made until tournament officials see how many players survive the cut. There are currently 74 players are 4 under or better.
Brandt Snedeker, who is playing the opposite nine, was also tied with Haas and Bradley until he made double bogey at the par-3 12th hole. Snedeker, who tied for second last week and shared third at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, put his tee shot in the back greenside bunker and left his second one there as well, then proceeded to miss a 6-footer for bogey.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Keegan Bradley had a few minutes before he teed off on Thursday afternoon so he joined the group huddled around the TV to see whether his good buddy and Ryder Cup partner Phil Mickelson could pull off that historic 59.
"(When) the putt lipped out, and you could just hear the whole place groan because they all wanted it to go in," Bradley said. "I saw him last night and gave him a high five. He was laughing about it. There wasn't much he could do. He hit a perfect putt.
"I just hope that my partner can ease up on me a little this afternoon and not go too low for the weekend."
Bradley is sure to be in the mix -- if not in Saturday's final group, possibly with Mickelson, to boot -- after he shot a 63 Friday morning that tied his career low on TOUR and moved him to 12 under. He was one shot ahead of Mickelson, who played in the afternoon, when he finished his round although the four-time major champion had regained sole possession of the lead by the time he made the turn.
Bradley got off to a hot start Friday, making three birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes. The eagle came courtesy of a 351-yard drive and a 7-iron to 8 feet and Bradley followed with a 6-footer for birdie at the rocking 16th hole.
As he made the turn, though, Bradley acknowleged he got "tight." He proceeded to bogeyed No. 2 from the right fairway bunker but he shook that off with a string of four straight birdies starting at the fifth hole.
"It was such a relief to shoot a good number," Bradley said. "I've been playing so well this whole year and haven't played many putts, and today the putts started to go in. I really had a fun time, 15, 16 with the crowds, and it just was a really fun round today. ...
"And you know, anytime you shoot 63, you put yourself back in the tournament."
Bradley, who won three times in his first two years on the PGA TOUR, including the 2011 PGA Championship, is smart enough to realize when he gets ahead of himself like he did as he headed to the front nine Friday. But a solid 3-wood down the fifth fairway that helped set up a 12-foot birdie putt turned the tide.
"I started to think about where I stood and what I needed to do, and I kept thinking to myself, finally you're shooting a good number, and I got really tight and started to miss a few fairways, and I start to really worry about my result, which is something I work on with Dr. Bob Rotella," Bradley explained
"Then I hit a really, really good drive on the fifth hole, and then it just kind of lifted from there. ... I just relaxed a little bit. I want to get myself into contention so bad sometimes that it can work against me, and that's when I kind of have to relax and take a deep breath."
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson has found birdies a little more difficult to come by on Friday than he did in his first-round 60.
But he's just rolled in a 24-footer at the par-3 seventh hole to join his buddy, Keegan Bradley, at the top of the leaderboard at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Bradley is finished at that number after a second-round 63.
Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera is alone at 11 under after a 65 on Friday. But Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas, who have each played seven holes on opposite nines, are on the move. Both have joined the group at 10 under after Snedeker opened with three birdies and Haas with four.
As far as the cut is concerned, there are currently 79 players at 3 under or better. But there is a lot of golf remaining to be played on Friday.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson has just teed off but he now has company at the top of the leaderboard in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
A round of 65 that included birdies on his last two holes has propeled two-time major champion Angel Cabrera to 11 under. Keegan Bradley is also at that number with two holes remaining while John Rollins has just made back-to-back birdies on his 11th and 12th holes of the day to join them.
Robert Garrigus shot 66 and is 10 under for the tournament. Ryan Moore has made five birdies in his 17 holes and is also 10 under.
Mickelson, who shot 60 in the first round after narrowly missing birdie putts on his last two holes, has just parred the first hole. He is playing with Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler.
Pat Perez, who went to Arizona State and lives in Scottsdale, was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. Perez made a double-bogey 6 on the 17th hole but signed for a 5.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Is TPC Scottsdale ripe for another run at a 59 on Friday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open?
Bo Van Pelt got things rolling when he shot the magic number in the pro-am, then Phil Mickelson thrilled the crowd on Thursday when he had chances on the final two holes to post the sixth 59 in PGA TOUR history.
Watching to see if history is made for a third straight day is probably too much to ask. But Keegan Bradley had visions dancing in our heads when he played his first seven holes in 5 under with an eagle and three birdies.
Bradley, who started on the back nine, ended up making the turn in 31. He's moved to 9 under and is tied with Robert Garrigus, two strokes off the current lead held by Mickelson, who tees off at 2:16 p.m. ET.
Robero Castro, who is also making a move on the back, is one stroke behind Mickelson after playing his first seven holes in 4 under. Jeff Maggert, Angel Cabrera Ryan Moore and John Rollins are all on the course at 8 under, as well.
TPC Scottsdale played to an average of 69.015 -- nearly two strokes under par in the first round.
Davis Love III withdrew prior to his second round with a nagging neck injury. He shot a first-round 72.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here.
2013 PREVIEW: Keegan Bradley has accomplished so much already it's hard to remember 2013 will be just his third full season on the PGA TOUR. He already has won a major and a World Golf Championships event while garnering a reputation as a pressure player. Bradley made gains in driving distance, GIR, strokes-gained putting and scoring average last year and with continued improvement, 2013 could be a monster year.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Bradley atoned for a rare collapse -- when he fell out of contention at Firestone in 2011 with a back-nine 41 in the final round -- as he closed with a 64 to rally from four behind and win the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. The win was his third in 48 starts on TOUR and made him just the 10th player to have won a major and a World Golf Championships event. And if there were any doubts, Bradley proved he belonged among the elite players when he posted a 3-1 record in his first Ryder Cup, energizing his good buddy partner, Phil Mickelson, in the process. – Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I think Keegan is the best on TOUR at using the long putter. Every time I watched him play, Bradley holed a putt from 20 feet or longer. He still struggles at flighting at ball, but Bradley's combination of length and putting will have him winning for a long time. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: While it's not the sexiest of nicknames, I like to think of him as "The Exception." Possesses a rare blend of a series of assets for a 26-year-old entering just his third year on the PGA TOUR. In no particular order: 1) superb driver of the golf ball; 2) plays a full schedule; 3) intensely competitive; 4) acknowledges his weaknesses without resistance (i.e. not averse to growth); 5) forged an all-encompassing relationship with Phil Mickelson. I wouldn't slot the 2011 Rookie of the Year this high in fantasy drafts, but he's not far off from first-round value if for no other reason than he's still building cachet. One of my tenets is to give guys three seasons on the PGA TOUR before qualifying them as worthy for the highest echelon. However, it's quite clear that Bradley belonged immediately. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||1st||Bridgestone Invitational|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 21
Rounds played: 88
Top-10 finishes: 5
Money List rank: 10th
Driving distance: 16th
Driving accuracy: 87th
Greens in regulation: 52nd
Strokes gained-putting: 27th
Scoring average: 18th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
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By Chris Reimer, PGA TOUR staff
GUANGDONG, China -- As Masters champion Bubba Watson's interview in advance of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions concluded, Keegan Bradley's interview quickly began.
Only, Watson wasn’t done with the media gathering. He decided to ask Bradley, who is left-eye dominant, about a unique feature of his putting routine.
“As one of your biggest fans, the public would like to know what are you looking at when you're reading putts,” Watson said.
Bradley was quick to take the bait. “Well, if I explained it to you, then I'd have to kill you. So I don't want to … give you any of my secrets.”
“Okay, look, I'm going to leave the room,” Watson persisted. “You tell the rest of the world why you're doing that and whatever you're doing when you do that?”
Bradley wouldn’t budge. “Listen, it's the stink eye; don't get in the way of it,” he said. “It will burn you.”
Watson then wondered if Phil Mickelson, Bradley’s frequent practice round and Ryder Cup partner, would adopt the habit.
“He was actually doing it today,” Bradley said.
“Since he's left handed, does he go the other way?” Watson said.
“ Yeah, he goes the other way. Thank you, Bubba,” Bradley said, and the interview – at last that portion of it – was over.
|U.S. (Keegan Bradley & Phil Mickelson) def. Europe (Luke Donald & Sergio Garcia), 4 and 3 Click for more: Hole by hole|
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Keegan Bradley has already won the 2011 PGA Championship and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this year. Not bad for a 26-year-old who is just finishing up his sophomore season on the PGA TOUR.
Even so, when Bradley walked to the first tee on Tuesday to play his first Ryder Cup practice round -- a practice round, for goodness sakes -- he called it "probably the proudest moment of my entire career."
That's how much the chance to represent his country means to the New Englander, who grew up watching his aunt, World Golf Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, do the same thing at the Solheim Cup.
Bradley said he'd been dreaming of playing in the Ryder Cup since he was 5 or 6 years old. He even texted a photo of his golf bag with the red-white-and-blue to his aunt Pat on Tuesday morning.
"She just texted me 'USA all the Way,'" the nephew said. "She brings an intensity to the game, and that's what I hope she passed down to me."
Consider it done.
Bradley says it would be his dream to play with Phil Mickelson in the Foursomes and Four-ball matches. The two are frequent practice round partners at TOUR events, and Bradley, who says "I get in these games with Phil and I've got more nerves in those than I do in a tournament,” credits the veteran with toughening him up.
"I've told Davis I'm happy to partner with anybody on this team but me and Phil have a great relationship and the great part about Phil is that he's there for advice but will also listen to me and take me seriously," Bradley said. "I think that's what could make us a good partnership."
And Bradley, who says being in the team room with Mickelson and Tiger Woods and the rest of the U.S. Team is one of many "pinch-yourself moments" he's had in the last two years, just may get his wish. He practiced with Mickelson, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson on Tuesday.
"I've always played very well after I've played in a Phil match because he gets your juices flowing, you start putting balls in the hole," Bradley said. "... Without a doubt, he's prepared me for this moment with these matches.”