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Swafford shoots 65, leads rainy La Quinta

Associated Press logo Associated Press 20/01/2017 John Nicholson

Hudson Swafford beat the rain on Friday in the CareerBuilder Challenge, and Phil Mickelson played his best in the worst of the conditions.

Then, there's New Zealand's Danny Lee.

"I actually wanted to play in the rain, so I could experiment with myself," Lee said. "Hopefully, it rains tomorrow."

He probably won't get his wish Saturday, but another storm could pass through the desert oasis Sunday afternoon.

Geoff Ogilvy is the best-placed Australian in a tie for 13th at eight-under after a round of 69 that included birdies on the 16th and 17th after a bogey at the 13th.

Aaron Baddeley mirrored his opening 69 with another three-under round to sit two shots behind Ogilvy in a share of 31st after four birdies and a bogey.

Swafford finished just before the rain moved in, shooting his second straight 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead.

Winless in his four-year PGA Tour career, the former Georgia star had a bogey-free round on the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West after opening the pro-am tournament Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

"Managed to keep the ball in the fairway," Swafford said. "That gives you a lot of nice approach shots into greens. I'm driving the ball beautifully."

The rain-seeking Lee and first-round leader Dominic Bozzelli were tied for second.

Lee closed with a birdie for a 64 at La Quinta, far exceeding his expectations after a month off.

"Just trying to break 80, seriously," Lee said. "Trying to not shoot something overly ridiculous, since I'm playing with the amateurs."

Bozzelli followed an opening 64 on PGA West's Stadium Course with a 67 at La Quinta.

"It wasn't my best today, but I was able to save par, made some pretty big par saves throughout the round and kept it going," Bozzelli said. "Actually, pretty lucky that weather held off a little bit longer than I thought it would."

The tee times were moved up an hour to 7:30 am, and Swafford and many players finished before the storm rolled in over the San Jacinto Mountains at about 1pm.

Mickelson got to use all of his rain gear, playing the final six holes in intermittent showers in the second-to-last group off the 10th tee on the Nicklaus course.

The tournament ambassador followed an opening 68 at La Quinta with a 66 to reach 10 under in his return from two sports hernia surgeries.

"I hit a lot more good shots today than I did yesterday, but I'm still hitting some really bad ones," said Mickelson, the 2002 and 2004 winner.

"And that's fine. It's to be expected. I knew that was going to happen, but I've been able to kind of manage those and get away with some pars."

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