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February 19 2012

2:31 AM

Round 3 tidbits from Riviera



● The third-round lead of 7-under par is the highest 54-lead at the Northern Trust Open since 1996 when Neal Lancaster led after three rounds in an event won by Craig Stadler.



● The 54-hole lead of 7-under-par is the highest score to lead through 54-holes of a PGA TOUR event since last year’s PGA Championship, which Jason Dufner and Brenden Steele led at -7.

Phil Mickelson, 66-70-70=206 (-7)



● Phil Mickelson shot a third-round 1-under-par 70 and holds the lead at the Northern Trust Open for the third consecutive day. Mickelson has won 21 of 30 times when holding the third-round lead/co-lead, including three of his last four. Last year, Mickelson won the Shell Houston Open when holding the third-round co-lead, but lost the Farmers Insurance Open after holding the third-round co-lead.



● Mickelson has won the last three times he has held the outright lead after 54 holes.



● Of Mickelson's 40 wins on TOUR, 15 came when he held the 54-hole lead, eight came when he held a share of the 54-hole lead and 17 came when he trailed going into the final round.



● Mickelson, a winner at last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, last won consecutive events in consecutive weeks in 2006 at the BellSouth Classic and Masters. He also accomplished the feat in 2005 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and then in 1996 at the Nortel Open and Waste Management Phoenix Open.



● Thirteen of Mickelson’s 40 career titles have come in California.  A win this week would move him ahead of Tiger Woods’ California victory total. A 41st win would keep Mickelson at No. 9 in career PGA TOUR victories and would move him to four behind No. 8 Walter Hagen’s 45 wins.

Keegan Bradley, 71-69-66=206 (-7)



● Rookie of the Year in 2011, Keegan Bradley matched Bryce Molder and defending champion Aaron Baddeley for the low round of the day at Riviera on Saturday with a 5-under-par 66.



● Both of Bradley’s victories have come when he trailed through three rounds. Bradley’s best previous standing through 54 holes is third at last year’s PGA Championship, which he won.



● Bradley leads the field in several putting categories this week: Strokes gained - 2.875 (meaning with the putts that he has made, he has gained 2.875 strokes on the field); Putts per round – 25; Putting average - 1.552



● At 25 years, 8 months and 13 days, Keegan Bradley would miss out on being the tournament’s youngest winner by a little over a year. Pat Fitzsimmons won the 1975 event at the age of 24 years, 2 months and 8 days.

Jonathan Byrd, 68-70-69=207 (-6)



● Jonathan Byrd is one off the lead at the Northern Trust Open in a tournament that he has missed the cut in 5 of 7 previous events. His best previous finish at Riviera Country Club is T37 in 2010.



● Byrd has three consecutive rounds below par to start this year’s Northern Trust Open. Before this week, Byrd had only broken par at this event in 14 of 16 career rounds and had never shot back-to-back rounds below par.

Bryce Molder, 74-67-66=207 (-6)



● Bryce Molder, winner at last year’s Frys.Com Open, matched Aaron Baddeley for the low round on Saturday with a 5-under-par 66 to move to T2. Molder has three top-25 finishes in five events this season including a T7 at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Pat Perez, 72-65-70=207 (-6)



● Playing in the final group on Saturday, Pat Perez rebounded from a bogey on the third hole followed by a double bogey on the fourth to shoot a 1-under-par 70 and is one off the lead heading into the final round. His best finish in 10 starts at Riviera is an eighth-place finish in 2007.



● Perez is looking for his second career victory.  He won for the first time at the 2009 Bob Hope Classic hosted by Arnold Palmer in Palm Springs, Calif.  His last top-10 finish came in August 2011 at the Reno-Tahoe Open, where he was runner-up.

Miscellaneous Notes



● Twenty-seven of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking are in the field this week, including No. 1 ranked, 2011 PGA TOUR Player of the Year Luke Donald, who is making his 2012 PGA TOUR season debut. Donald is currently T26 (70-72-71) through 54 holes. Donald finished 2011 with four consecutive top-10 finishes. If he finishes outside the top 20 on Sunday, it will be the first time he has finished outside the top 20 on the PGA TOUR since missing the cut at the 2011 British Open.



● Donald is joined in the field by three other players in the top 10 in the world with No. 7 Jason Day (T68), No. 8 Adam Scott (T26) and No. 10 Dustin Johnson (T6).



● American players have won the first six events of the 2012 PGA TOUR season. The last time there was such a streak to start the season was 2001 when U.S. players won the first eight events of the year before Robert Allenby won the Northern Trust Open. Of the top-10 players on the leaderboard, only two are from outside the United States (Jarrod Lyle – Australia and Aaron Baddeley - Australia).

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