first_imgMickelson sank a 14-foot, 10-inch putt for eagle to atone for making bogey after missing an 8-foot putt on the 16th. “I really like the way I’m putting the ball in play,” Mickelson said. “It feels very easy.” It’s just not supposed to be that way. And Harrington understands that very much. After his opening-round 63 Thursday, he said that some day the course would catch up to him. That wasn’t the case Friday either, although he did make some novice mistakes. The ninth hole, which he parred, was an example. “I had two practice rounds, but you can’t cover all of the detail on it,” Harrington said. “I had a putt there on my last hole from the back edge of the green. I was guessing how much it was downwind, how fast this putt was. There was some shadows. It was really difficult to see it.” Maybe Harrington had a miscue here or there, but he’s still playing great considering his inexperience here. Mickelson was surprised to see that his first-round 66 was surpassed by three strokes. He wasn’t surprised that Harrington was atop the leaderboard, too, despite his never having played Riviera. “Padraig is one of the best players in the world,” Mickelson said. [email protected] (818) 713-3615 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mickelson eagled the 17th hole on his way to a 6-under 65 and Harrington shot a 3-under 68 Friday to remain in first on a perfect sunny afternoon in front of a gallery of 35,992. Charles Howell III is within striking distance, three shots back at 7-under after shooting a second-round 65. Harrington, Mickelson and Howell will make up today’s final group. Tee times and pairings weren’t available since there was one player, George McNeill, who couldn’t putt on the ninth because of darkness. The jet-setting Mickelson, who’s flying to and from his home in San Diego, might not have recent course knowledge, but he consulted someone who does. Riviera member Amy Alcott, who lives off the sixth hole, gave him a refresher course. “Subtleties in the greens is one of the things we were talking about,” Mickelson said. “That was the biggest thing, how the greens break, the little nuances that you notice after years and years. (She said) gosh, every time somebody plays here for the first time, they always miss this putt a foot over here, stuff like that.” Riviera usually succumbs to someone like Corey Pavin, who’s played here 23 times. Mickelson and Harrington are dominating Riviera even though tradition implies they shouldn’t. Mickelson hasn’t played the Nissan Open in five years, and Harrington has never played it, yet the two are co-leaders at 11-under par after two rounds. center_img PACIFIC PALISADES – Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington are bucking the very essence of Riviera Country Club. The storied course typically overwhelms those that have rarely walked its hallowed ground. Golfers who don’t know every inch of the 7,279-yard course typically pay the price with each errant shot. last_img read more