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Mickelson tops again

LOS ANGELES — Phil Mickelson wasn't at his best Friday at Riviera. Two shots at least helped him stay in the lead.

Despite having only two birdie chances inside 15 feet, Mickelson holed out from the eighth fairway for eagle and chipped in for birdie on the par-3 16th. That carried him to a 1-under 70 and a one-shot lead over Pat Perez in the Northern Trust Open.

Mickelson made three par saves from outside 10 feet, starting with his opening hole at the par-4 10th. He went from the front bunker to the back bunker, blasted out to 18 feet and curled in the putt.

That set the tone for a day that only looked good on the scorecard.

"I probably didn't play the greatest (Friday), but I was able to kind of salvage a good round and had a good break on eight where I holed out from the fairway," he said. "That was a nice little bonus."

Perez had a tournament-best 65, without a bogey, and he saved his best shot for the final hole. He hit his tee shot far right on No. 18, the green blocked by eucalyptus trees. Perez cut a 6-iron, hoping to find the green, and it wound up 12 feet away for birdie.

"I didn't hit it like you'd think I would," he said. "I didn't drive it all that great. I just scrambled well."

Mickelson was at 6-under 136, assured of being atop the leaderboard for the third straight round. He rallied to win last week's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

The group at 4-under 138 included Jimmy Walker (66), Carl Pettersson (70), Jonathan Byrd (70), Marc Leishman (69) and Matt Kuchar (69), who had a solid day without too much excitement until he drilled his tee shot to a back left pin on No. 6 and left himself 5 feet for birdie.

Before he could putt, Kuchar was stung by a bee in his arm.

"I haven't been stung by a bee in probably 20 years," he said. "I had stopped being scared of bees. The thing got me, and it was really painful."

Bubba Watson (69) was in the group another shot back and world No. 1 Luke Donald (72) was six shots out of the lead.

Eight of the 144-man field could not finish before dark and will finish today.

Joe Ogilvie had the shot of the day, an ace on the 16th hole with a 7-iron. It was his third hole-in-one on the PGA Tour, and he has yet to win a prize. At least at a tour event, he didn't have to buy drinks.

"There were 10 guys up there that looked like they could drink 1,000 beers," he said after shooting 71 for 142 total. "I'm glad I didn't do this at my club."

LPGA: Karrie Webb aced the 159-yard 12th with a 6-iron to take a three-stroke lead after the lightning-delayed second round of the LPGA Thailand in Chonburi. Webb had 7-under 65 to reach 11-under 133. South Koreans Jiyai Shin and Na Yeon Choi were tied for second. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 70 for the second straight day and was seven shots out of the lead.

CHAMPIONS: Larry Mize shot 10-under 62 in calm, sunny conditions to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the ACE Group Classic in Naples. Tom Lehman, the player of the year last season, was second along with Kenny Perry and 2011 Senior British Open champion Russ Cochran at The Quarry.

Mickelson tops again 02/17/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 17, 2012 10:16pm]
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