February 1 2013
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.