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Mickelson's second round 66 proves it is good to talk

By John Reger

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - A brief chat with coach Butch Harmon and Champions Tour golfer Dave Stockton helped world number two Phil Mickelson move into contention at the Northern Trust Open on Friday.

After a lackluster one-over 72 in the first round, the left-handed American shot a five-under 66 in the second following a discussion about his game on Thursday night with the duo.

"I felt like I wasn't far off after (first round) even though the score didn't reflect it," said Mickelson, who moved into a tie for 11th, six shots behind leaders Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker.

"I had a good conversation last night (with them) and I think it settled in today. I was able to make the last adjustment and it felt great. I hit the ball much better and putted much better."

The statistics backed up Mickelson's assessment, the American needing only 26 putts compared to Thursday's 32. He also found more greens and fairways despite playing in steady rain.

"It was a difficult day," Mickelson said.

"It was playing long and it was important to hit some good drives. I hit some decent tee shots and was able to play aggressive from there."

"I'm in a position where a good round (Saturday) and I can get in contention for Sunday," he said. "So that's where I wanted to get myself."

(Edited by Patrick Johnston)