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Watson, Jones atop Phoenix; Mickelson plays on

ESPN staff
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Bubba Watson made a five-under 66 in Arizona © Getty Images
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Bubba Watson and Matt Jones lead the Phoenix Open on 12 under while defending champion Phil Mickelson made it to the weekend but is eight shots off the pace.

Jones shot a second straight 65 to go six under for the day, while Watson had a 66. Mickelson, who withdrew from Torrey Pines last week because of back pain having made the cut, shot a four-under 67 on Friday at TPC Scottsdale.

"I'm not totally out of it," Mickelson said. "Obviously, heading into the weekend, I'd like to be closer, but as we have seen in the past, there is that eight, nine, 10, in some cases 11-under par round out there."

Mickelson, the three-time champion, has shot 11-under 60 twice in the event, in the second round in his 2005 victory and in the first round last year.

"It's right where I want to be going into the weekend," Watson said.

"My back feels great," said Mickelson, who flew to Georgia to see back specialist Tom Boers and was told his facet joints locked up.

"Like I said, it was a simple fix. I just don't want to overdo it."

Harris English and Greg Chalmers reached 10 under after shooting 67, while Pat Perez, Kevin Stadler and Hideki Matsuyama sit on 9 under. Matsuyama made 67, and Perez and Stadler finished with 68s.

Watson opened his round in the morning on the par-four 10th with a birdie, but bogeyed the par-three seventh after driving right. A 30-foot birdie putt on the par-four eighth followed, and he closed with a bogey on the par-four ninth with his wedge shot spinning off the green.

"I had two sloppy bogeys coming down the stretch, but I will take it," Watson said.

Jones managed to birdie four of his last six holes, having also played in the morning. "We definitely got the good side of the draw," Jones said.

Brandt Snedeker had the best round of the day, reaching eight under with a 64 in the morning. "My putting, plain and simple," Snedeker said. "I hit the ball extra good yesterday and had some of the worst putting I had all year. Today, I kind of did the opposite."

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