Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Mickelson gets comfortable at top

Phil Mickelson stayed on pace to win back-to-back tournaments for the first time in his career Friday, shooting 3-under-par 68 to take a one-shot lead in the FBR Open.

Mickelson had three birdies and an eagle before bogeying the last two holes.

He was 10-under 132 for two rounds, one stroke ahead of Jonathan Kaye, Jeff Sluman and first-round leader Scott Verplank.

"It could have been a really good day, but it's close enough to where a good round tomorrow will give me a chance," said Mickelson, who was winless in 2003 and wound up a career-low 38th on the money list after three years of finishing second.

The left-hander also led with two rounds to go at the Bob Hope, which he won Sunday for his 22nd title, and has been in the 60s all seven rounds this year.

"I feel very comfortable with the way I'm playing, which I haven't had in a long time," Mickelson said.

Verplank started one shot ahead of Mickelson and was up by one after 16 holes before finishing with consecutive bogeys. Verplank's 70 threw him back with Sluman (67) and Kaye (68).

Masters champion Mike Weir finished the first round Friday morning with a par-saving, 11-foot putt for 65. He played the second round in 69 to stay within two shots of the lead. He was joined at 134 by Ricky Barnes (67).

Three-time winner Mark Calcavecchia and Paul Azinger, the 1987 champion, shot 66 as part of an eight-player group at 137.

Defending champion Vijay Singh, a two-time winner, carded 69 for 140. He is trying to extend his run of 10 consecutive top-10 finishes.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Tom Watson birdied the seventh hole _ worth three skins and $70,000 _ to take the lead in the Skins Game in Wailea, Hawaii.

Watson, the 2003 player of the year, blasted out of the bunker on the par-5, 555-yard hole to set up his birdie chance.

Jack Nicklaus, who turned 64 last week, was second with three skins worth $60,000. Arnold Palmer had two and $50,000. Defending champion Lee Trevino was shut out.

The final nine holes of the $600,000 event, worth $390,000, are today.

EUROPEAN-AUSTRALASIAN PGA: Thomas Bjorn shot 4-under-par 68 to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Johnnie Walker Classic in Bangkok, Thailand. Bjorn birdied three of his first five but bogeyed Nos. 7 and 18, both par 5s, finishing 12-under 132. David Lynn was second at 10-under 130 after 6-under 66, and Nick Faldo followed an opening 65 with 2-under 70 and was third at 9 under.