Bradley joins Mickelson out in front

2/19/2012 6:44:37 AM
Keegan Bradley  (Getty Images)
Keegan Bradley (Getty Images)
Keegan Bradley snatched a share of Phil Mickelson`s lead of the Northern Trust Open, setting up an enthralling final day in California.

The 25 year old fired a five under 66 to hit the front, with Mickelson carding a second successive one under, with the pair tied on seven under.

Mickelson, chasing back-to-back titles after winning at Pebble Beach last weekend, started the week with a score identical to Bradley`s, but has hit the buffers since and failed to build a commanding lead.

He is only one shot ahead of the chasing pack too, with three players all on six under in the shape of Pat Perez, Jonathan Byrd and Bryce Molder - another to shoot a 66.

Aaron Baddeley, Dustin Johnson and Bill Haas all sit two shots off the pace, while a steady even round from England`s Justin Rose means he is five away from the top on two under.

World Number One Luke Donald is seemingly out of contention, though, sitting even par after going round in 71.

Having landed three birdies on the last three holes, Australian Baddeley boosted his title hopes and knows what he has to do over the final 18 holes.

"It's always a great way to finish," he said.

"I hit a great putt on 16, then hit great shots all coming home there. I'll take that tomorrow and try and get another one.

"I had to shoot four, five, six 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."

The day belonged to US PGA Champion Bradley, though, who secured his share of the lead with a beautiful eight foot birdie on the 16th hole and a pitch to tap in on the next, before paring the last.

"That's kind of why I was excited to make that putt on the last hole. I figured that might be to get in the final group with Phil," he said.