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Mickelson, Bradley share Northern Trust lead

February 19, 2012

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— Phil Mickelson hit one tree, threaded a shot through five trees and hit a drive that wound up in a spectator’s shorts. He somehow managed a 1-under 70 on Saturday to share the lead with PGA champion Keegan Bradley in the Northern Trust Open.

Bradley, inspired by a Riviera course that is one of his favorites, took only five putts over the final five holes, including a 10-footer for par on the last hole, for a 5-under 66 that assured him of being in the final group.

The par was meaningful because he wanted to play today with Mickelson, a mentor to him.

There’s no telling what to expect in the final round. The phrase “routine par” was not part of Mickelson’s vocabulary on a beautiful afternoon off Sunset Boulevard.

Mickelson played one chip well past the hole on the par-3 sixth so it would roll off the bank some 25 feet behind the cup and roll back. He made a 12-footer for his par.

The only disappointment was not taking advantage of enough birdie chances, twice missing birdie putts inside 8 feet and failing to give himself a good look on the par-5 17th when his wedge rolled off the front of the green.

Mickelson and Bradley were at 7-under 206, though this is hardly a two-man race at Riviera.

A dozen players were within four shots of the lead going into the final round, including defending champion Aaron Baddeley (66), Dustin Johnson (67) and FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas (68).

Former Kansas University golfer Gary Woodland shot a third-round 72 and was five shots over par for the tournament.

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