After a frost delay for the third day in a row -- this one lasting 58 minutes -- golfers finally finished the second round on Saturday, with a logjam of five in the lead.
Camilo Villegas, Jonathan Byrd and Kenny Perry completed their rounds to join J.B. Holmes and Doug LaBelle II at 9-under 133 halfway through the tournament, which drew a record crowd of 120,891 on Friday. Holmes and LaBelle made it through the second round Friday before play was suspended by darkness with 45 golfers still on the course.
First round co-leader Charles Warren and Frank Lickliter III finished second-round play Saturday at 8-under 134, one shot back. Nick O'Hern and Pat Perez also were at 8-under after completing their round on Friday.
In all, 24 players were within three shots of the lead. Seven were two back at 135. Phil Mickelson added a birdie to his second round on Saturday and was in a group of eight at 6-under 136.
Villegas briefly went to 10-under on Saturday before a bogey on his next-to-last hole dropped him into a tie for the lead. Byrd completed his round of 7-under 64 with a birdie.
Among those missing the cut was defending champion Aaron Baddeley, who wound up even-par 142 on the par-71, 7,216-yard TPC Scottsdale course. Seventy golfers made the cut of 2-under.
'You'd prefer not teeing off at oh-dot-30 and getting out there when it's just a little colder,' said Ben Crane, among those at 7-under. 'But all in all, it's still golf, and the ball might fly maybe 5 percent shorter, but that's about it. '
Mickelson had five birdies, but three-putted from 7 feet for a double bogey on the par-4, 464-yard ninth. He came back to sink a short birdie putt on the par-5 13th and chip in for birdie on the par-4 14th.
'Getting those last two birdies was nice because of the way I gave it away on 9,' he said before Saturday's play. 'But if I can just get a couple birdies coming in here, I should be in good position for the final two rounds.'
With the temperature 31 degrees at sunrise Friday, a 90-minute frost delay postponed completion of the first round by the 24 golfers still on the course when play was suspended by darkness on Thursday.
That made it impossible for the second round to be completed before dark.
'It was freezing, but we got to miss most of that with the delay,' said Kevin Stadler, who shot a 64 and was in a group at 6-under 136. 'It was cold probably the first hour, hour and a half. Other than that it's been a beautiful afternoon. I mean, it's there for the taking today.'
Holmes won the FBR as a rookie in 2006, just his fourth tournament on the tour. It remains his lone PGA TOUR triumph.
'It happened so quickly, and not saying I did it with ease, but I won by several shots,' he said, 'and I was saying `Well, maybe just keep it going' and I just kind of fell into a little bit of a slump.'
His 6-under 65 marked the seventh time he has shot in the 60s in eight rounds at the FBR.
'You always have more confidence when you get on a course that you really, really like,' Holmes said.
LaBelle is off to a good start to the season, finishing tied for 10th at the Sony Open in Hawaii and tied for 19th at the Buick Invitational. He lives in Scottsdale and had a large group of friends and family members cheering for him when he shot a 7-under 64 on Friday.
'It means a lot to be playing in front of a lot of family and friends,' LaBelle said. 'More importantly, aside from all that, just to play some good golf. That's the best part about it.'
Will MacKenzie had a hole-in-one on the par-3, 195-yard 12th hole Friday but was 5 over through 14 holes.