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Phil Mickelson looks sharp with second straight 68

Phil Mickelson hits off the second tee during

Phil Mickelson hits off the second tee during the second round of the Northern Trust golf tournament in Paramus, N.J., Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. (Chris Pedota/The Record via AP) Credit: AP/Chris Pedota

PARAMUS, N.J. — Phil Mickelson’s day got off to a quick and auspicious start. And that is not even counting the fact that he birdied his first four holes. Long before that, at exactly 4:35 a.m., he issued his first tweet of Friday morning: “Up early to start round 2.”

This is the week in which Mickelson finally signed up for Twitter, not coincidentally the same week in which organizers officially began promoting his Thanksgiving weekend $9-million match against Tiger Woods. In any event, early indications are that Mickelson intends to approach his new social media world the same way he handles golf, or life in general: There is no telling what might come next.

His children were among the first to know about his new foray. “They are nervous,” Mickelson said after shooting a second consecutive 3-under-par 68 in the Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club. “And they should be, because in time, I will mess up. I always kind of ride the line somewhere. Sometimes I cross it. Sometimes not.

“But it’s going to be fun. I’ll give it a few weeks, see how it goes.”

On the course, he was literally up early to start round two. Beginning his round on the ninth hole (logistics at Ridgewood make it easier to start rounds there than on No. 10), he made a birdie 3, then followed with three more and suddenly was at the top of the leader board at 8 under. He remained there for much of his round, creating quite a buzz on the grounds.

“Phil got off to a nice start today and had some good mojo for the group. I was able to feed off that and made some birdies of my own,” said Tony Finau, who played in Mickelson’s threesome and spent much of the round right behind him at 6 under. Ultimately, Finau bogeyed his final hole and Mickelson bogeyed his last two, dropping both to 6 under, but still very much in the hunt for the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Mickelson chose to focus on the positive: “I hit nine of the first 10 fairways today. I fully expect to do that this weekend, to drive it more like that. And if I do, I’ll be able to make a lot of birdies like I did early on.”

He hopes his late season will look more like his early season, which featured a win in a World Golf Championships event, rather than his midseason, which was marked by his admittedly crossing a line of decorum by deliberately hitting a moving ball at Shinnecock Hills. His intent now is just to move forward, 140 characters at a time.

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