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Phil Mickelson 8 back of Watson, Jones at Phoenix Open

Phil Mickelson shot a 4-under 67 in his afternoon round Friday at cool and breezy TPC Scottsdale, leaving him eight strokes behind leaders Bubba Watson and Matt Jones.

Defending champion fires 4-under 67 on Friday

Phil Mickelson stretches on the 17th hole during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Rick Scuteri/Associated Press)

Phil Mickelson made it to the weekend in the Phoenix Open, a week after withdrawing at Torrey Pines because of back pain.

The defending champion shot a 4-under 67 in his afternoon round Friday at cool and breezy TPC Scottsdale, leaving him eight strokes behind leaders Bubba Watson and Matt Jones.

Watson and Jones were 12 under. Watson followed his opening 64 with a 66, and Jones had his second straight 65 — both in calmer conditions in the morning.

The 43-year-old Mickelson felt soreness in his back two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, and pulled out of his hometown event at Torrey Pines after making the 36-hole cut. He flew to Georgia to see back specialist Tom Boers and was told his facet joints locked up.

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., is eight shots back, with a 1-under 70 leaving him at 4-under 138. Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., is another stroke back after turning in a 72.

The rest of the Canadian contingent missed the cut, which was 1-under 141. Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., finished at 145. Amateur Ki Taek Lee of Vancouver wound up at 147, while Calgary's Stephen Ames was another shot back.

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