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Bradley & Mickelson Share Lead in Northern Trust Open
Reigning PGA champion Keegan Bradley and four-time major winner Phil Mickelson will be playing together in the final round of the Northern Trust Open. Bradley carded a 5-under 66 Saturday at Riviera Country Club, while 36-hole leader Mickelson, who's seeking consecutive wins, shot his second straight 70.
The two are tied at 7-under 206 in the $6.6 million PGA Tour event, which started Thursday at the fabled George Thomas-designed course in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Mickelson had two birdies and a bogey Saturday, and is in excellent position to follow up his victory in last week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Bradley posted six birdies and a bogey Saturday. The 25-year-old New Englander needed just 23 putts in the third round.
Bradley is looking forward to playing alongside one of his mentors. "You can go out there and shoot a 5-, 6-under round like I did today and just shoot right up the leaderboard," Bradley told PGATour.com. "But I can promise you I do want to beat Phil, and he wants to beat me.
"I just look forward to the challenge of going out there and being in the hunt with him. Like I said, you never know what Phil is going to shoot. He could shoot a really low one or not, so you've got to try not to focus on him as much."
Despite shooting only 1-under par, Mickelson was happy with his day. "This was a great round for me because I did not play well, and I shot 1-under par and I'm atop the leaderboard," Mickelson told reporters later. "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. And yesterday and today I didn't play the best. I wasn't far off. I hit some good shots at times that didn't quite turn out, but I was playing very defensive all day just trying to make pars.
"And I'll get it turned around. I've already talked to Butch (swing coach Harmon). I've already got texts. I'll go hit some balls and get it turned around for tomorrow because today was a big day because if I didn't fight hard and make pars from some of the places I was at, then I'd be trying to play catch up to a lot of guys. Now, there's a lot of players that are right in it, within a couple shots of the lead, and it's going to take a good round tomorrow. But I'm pleased that I put myself in it."
Three players are only a shot behind Mickelson and Bradley. Bryce Molder, who will be paired with Mickelson and Bradley in the final threesome, posted a 66 to share third with Jonathan Byrd (69) and Pat Perez (70). After shooting a 74 on Thursday that involved a whopping 37 putts, Molder was much better on the short grass Saturday, needing only 24 putts.
Ryan Moore (68) and Aussie Jarrod Lyle (71) are tied for ninth at 4-under 209 and a mere three strokes out of the lead.
Baddeley was pleased with how he's come back following a disappointing 2-over 73 in the opening round. After a more respectable 69 Friday, his third-round 66 put him into the mix on Sunday. "I got off to that poor start on Thursday, 3-over after three, and sort of battled well and shot 1-under from there coming in," Baddeley told PGATour.com.
"I played well (Friday). I felt like I played better than 2-under. So it was a little disappointing, but my game felt good, so I was keen to get out there early, get the best of the greens and post a score, which I did."
He capped his third round with three straight birdies. "It's always a great way to finish," Baddeley noted of how his Saturday ended. "I hit a great putt on 16, then hit great shots all coming home (from) there. I'll take that tomorrow and try and get another one. I had to shoot 4-, 5-, 6-under today to give myself a realistic chance. So it was pleasing, pleasing just the way I played really nicely all day. Especially finishing off like I did was good."
Because of slow rounds on Thursday and Friday that caused several dozen players each day to not finish their outings because of darkness, the final cut line wasn't established until all the second rounds were completed Saturday morning. It was set at 3-over 145, the first over-par cut of the season.
Among those not eligible for the final two rounds were two-time champion Fred Couples and major winners Geoff Ogilvy, Justin Leonard, Trevor Immelman and Angel Cabrera.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboards/current/r007/.
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