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Mickelson was pleased with how he was driving the ball, but couldn’t figure out why he didn’t make many birdies. The question for Mickelson was whether to fly home to San Diego for four days before the Cadillac Championship at Doral, or stick to his plan of playing the pro-member tournament at Seminole on Monday.

The rest of the field is more concerned with catching McIlroy.

Scott saw it in Australia late last year when McIlroy beat him on the last hole for his only win of 2013. McIlroy has been on an upward swing ever since, with chances to win on Sunday in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

McIlroy practiced with putting coach Dave Stockton last week in Arizona, the first time they had worked together in nearly three months. They made a few minor changes, and McIlroy feels more comfortable on the greens.

It shows in the statistics - 49 putts through 36 holes.

“That’s probably the lowest putting total after 36 I’ve probably had, maybe in my career,” he said. “So it’s obviously going in the right direction.”