Mickelson hit driver off the deck from just under 300 yards on the par-5 11th that led to a two-putt birdie, and he ended a gorgeous afternoon Thursday at Riviera by chipping in from 35 feet for birdie.
That gave the two-time Masters Tournament champion 5-under-par 66 and a one-shot lead in the Northern Trust Open.
Dating to the back nine of his second round at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Mickelson has made birdie or eagle on one-third of the holes he has played. And his streak of consecutive holes without a bogey finally ended at 49 on the par-3 16th.
He looked good with the putter and with his low, penetrating tee shots that he kept below the tree line on a windy day that prevented low scoring.
J.B. Holmes, in his fourth tournament since returning from brain surgery in September, played his final six holes without a par.
His round ended with a 315-yard tee shot – a big drive in the cool air of Los Angeles in February – and an approach to 8 feet for birdie at No. 9, the second-toughest hole at Riviera.
That gave him 67. He was tied with Hunter Mahan, whose 35-foot birdie at No. 5 sent him on a string of four consecutive birdies.
They all played in the afternoon, when the wind began to die late in the day.
Former Clemson star Jonathan Byrd, who faced the chilly, blustery conditions of the morning, had 68. He was joined by Carl Pettersson.
The first round was suspended by darkness with 30 players yet to finish the round, a typical occurrence at this tournament with 144-man field and limited daylight.
Mickelson is coming off 64 in the final round at Pebble Beach, where he rallied from a six-shot deficit – and beat playing partner Tiger Woods by 11 shots. Woods is not playing this week.
Mickelson made his lone bogey when his chip behind the 16th green ran 7 feet past the cup, and he missed the putt.
He faced a quick chip on the 18th, but it dropped in with perfect speed.
“It wasn’t one I was really trying to make,” he said.