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“I’m kind of overwhelmed by it,” Stanley said.

Phil Mickelson had 24 putts in a 68, and defending champion Mark Wilson, coming off a victory two weeks ago in the Humana Challenge, was 1 under with two holes left.

“I feel so good with the putter,” said Mickelson, the former Arizona State star who won the tournament in 1996 and 2005. “It’s been a little while. It’s been a few years since the guys out here have seen me putt like this.”

Mickleson played alongside Dustin Johnson and the green-clad Rickie Fowler in a morning group that attracted the largest gallery in the estimated crowd of 77,053.

“I like the way he dresses,” Mickelson said about Fowler. “It’s not for me, but I think he dresses really sharp.”

Fowler holed out from 68 yards for birdie on the par-5 15th after hitting his second shot into the water in front of the green.

“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was how I wanted to hit it,” Fowler said. “It skipped behind the hole, and I could see it spinning right down the stick.”

Fowler finished with a 69, and Johnson had a 68.

“I’m good buddies with Rickie and Phil, so we had a great time,” Johnson said.

Simpson had five birdies in a six-hole stretch, capped by a 9-iron bunker shot to inches on the second hole after his drive drifted right and ended up in a bunker.

“I had a good lie in the bunker and had 145 yards. I was just trying to hit an easy 9,” Simpson said. “It was one of those that just came out perfect and landed great and ended up being a tap-in. It was my favorite shot, I think, I’ve hit this year.”

He also birdied the fifth hole to get to 7 under, but dropped a stroke on No. 6 when his chip released more than he expected.

Last year, the 26-year-old former Wake Forest player closed the regular season with a victory in the Wyndham Championship, then won the Deutsche Bank two weeks later in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He’s coming off a two-week break after opening in Hawaii with a tie for third in the Tournament of Champions and a tie for 38th in the Sony Open.

“One of big things this year was you see so many players go out and have a big year and they come out and they struggle,” Simpson said. “It’s fine if I struggle, but I want to make sure that I’m doing the same things.”

DIVOTS: Arron Oberholser, returning from hand and hip injuries, was 1 over with three holes to play in his first PGA Tour round since October 2009. … Stephen Ames withdrew before the round because of back pain. Vaughn Taylor was in line to take the spot as an alternate, but wasn’t on site, so Scott Brown got the position in the field. Brown was even par with three holes left.