Mickelson shares lead with Bradley

by JP Lonergan , 19 February 2012

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley share first place at the Northern Trust Open ahead of Sunday's final round.


A five-under-round of 66 brought USPGA champion Bradley level with Mickelson, after the multiple major winner's one-under 70 saw him lose his outright lead. The duo ended Saturday's third round at California's Riviera CC on seven-under-par, one shot clear of Bryce Molder, Jonathan Byrd and Pat Perez.

Mickelson, winner of last week’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am had been in front after both the previous rounds, but was lucky to still have a portion of top spot after a few hiccups in Pacific Palisades on Saturday.

The round saw him hit shots off a tree, behind a Bottle Brush, and, stunningly, between a number of eucalyptus trees and into the hem of a spectator’s shorts, yet his battle for back-to-back wins goes on thanks to birdies at the first and 11th.

The much-younger Bradley was more on the ball on day three. He did drop one shot at 11, but saved efforts at 16 and 17 to add to four earlier birdies and move right into the frame.

Mickelson, however, was just happy not to be out of it completely.

"This was a great round for me,” the man known as ‘Lefty’ was quoted as saying by the PGA Tour’s official website.

“Because I did not play well and I shot one-under par and I'm atop the leaderboard.

"Usually when I win, I'll have two good rounds and I'll have two rounds that aren't so great that I've got to keep somewhere in it to give myself a chance."

Molder, like Bradley, shot a 66, with rounds of 69 and 70 signed for respectively by Byrd and Perez.

Defending champion Aaron Baddeley was another to sign for a 66 as he joined Dustin Johnson and Bill Haas on five-under with one round to play.

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