Watson retains share of Phoenix Open lead
Scottsdale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Bubba Watson fired a 5-under-par 66 on Friday to retain a share of the lead at the suspended Waste Management Phoenix Open.
On Thursday, Watson and Y.E. Yang carded matching 64s to grab the clubhouse lead before play was suspended due to darkness. The left-hander then mixed seven birdies and a pair of bogeys during the second round to remain on top before darkness once again halted play.
"Everything is clicking right now," said Watson. "I played really well last week, just didn't make the putts. This time I'm playing well and some of the putts are dropping."
Matt Jones shot 65 on Friday to meet Watson in the lead at 12-under-par 130 through 36 holes on the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale.
"We definitely got the good side of the draw going early," Jones said. "It's going to be cold and the ball isn't going as far."
Greg Chalmers and Harris English both carded 67s to grab a share of third at 10-under, while Kevin Stadler (68), Pat Perez (68) and Hideki Matsuyama (67) moved into a tie for fifth at minus-9.
Brandt Snedeker fired a 64, which matched the low round of the day, to jump into a share of eighth place. He stands alongside Patrick Reed (67), William McGirt (69) and Scott Piercy (67) at 8-under.
Yang, the 2009 PGA Championship winner, stumbled to a 73 and dropped into a tie for 15th at 5-under.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson, who was forced to withdraw from last week's Farmers Insurance Open due to muscle pain in his lower back, has carded rounds of 71-67 to sit in a tie for 27th at 4-under.
"I didn't make too many sloppy swings," said Mickelson. "My distance control was back on."
Watson, looking for his first win since the 2012 Masters, had a chance to grab the outright lead if it weren't for bogeys at Nos. 7 and 9 (his 16th and 18th).
The left-hander opened with a birdie at the 10th tee before adding additional gains at the 13th and 15th to turn in 33.
Watson reeled off three straight birdies from the second to reach 13-under, then went bogey-birdie-bogey from the seventh to close with a share of the lead.
"I feel like I should win on every golf course," Watson stated. "I think that once you make the PGA Tour your game travels pretty well."
Jones went off the first tee and promptly birdied three of his first four holes. He bogeyed the ninth (his only dropped shot of the day) and added four more birdies during his inward stretch for his second straight 65.
NOTES: Four players have yet to finish their second rounds. The second round will resume at 9:45 a.m. ET ... Watson is a four-time PGA Tour winner ... Jones is seeking his first PGA Tour win in his 150th start ... Yang beat Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship.
01/31 20:40:32 ET