By Diane Pucin
12:50 PM PST, February 17, 2012
Phil Mickelson holed out from from the left fairway on the par-four eighth hole for a crowd-pleasing eagle two at Riviera Country Club Friday but finished his final hole of the second round, the ninth, with a bogey five by missing a 6-foot par putt.
For now Mickelson, trying to win his second tournament in a row, has a one-shot lead in the Northern Trust Open after his second-round 70 Friday morning. Mickelson won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last Sunday on the strength of a closing-round 64.
Mickelson had bogeyed the par-four seventh hole and might have been in an unhappier place had he not followed up a 311-yard drive on the eighth with an 110-yard iron that bounced and rolled into the hole for the eagle two.
On the ninth hole, Mickelson’s drive was in the left rough and his approach was 24 yards off the green.
Jimmy Walker, who has never won on the PGA Tour but who tied for fourth here last year on the strength of a final-round 68, shot a five-under 66 Friday that included a 31 on the front nine, which Walker played second. Walker is at four-under for the tournament and in a three-way tie for third.
Mickelson, for the moment, has a one-shot advantage over Sweden’s Carl Pettersson, who is two-under through 16 holes Friday and five-under for the tournament.
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