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January 28, 2011

Phil Mickelson rips new North Course at Torrey Pines

MickelsonSAN DIEGO -- Phil Mickelson was smiling after he made back-to-back birdies to post a second-round 69 on the newly lengthened North Course at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Friday. 

Still, he had some choice words for the course, which has been bulked up to 7,062 yards, with five new tees, 22-yard-wide fairways and wrist-breaking rough making driving more treacherous than ever.

"I think the North Course is probably a great example how longer is not always better," Mickelson said. "It's always been a fun golf course to play, and as you get longer and longer, it's no longer a fun course."

Mickelson hit just two of 14 fairways and was three strokes behind 36-hole leader Bill Haas, who fired a 6-under 66 on the South Course. All players who make the cut will play the South on the weekend.

Tiger Woods, who shot an uneven 69 on the South on Friday and was five shots off the lead, hit just five of 14 fairways on the North Course while carding a 69 on Thursday.

"It's harder to hit fairways on the North," said Haas, "but the second shots are still significantly harder on the South."

Mickelson's misadventures on the newly lengthened, 492-yard, par-4 11th hole spoke volumes. Perhaps leery of straying into the red-staked lateral hazard on the left, he duck-hooked his drive way right. From there he chopped out his second shot but watched as it caromed left and through the fairway, into the left rough. He gouged his third shot out to within 12 feet but missed his par putt.

"I'm looking forward to playing the South the next few rounds," he said.

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