Bradley made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on his opening nine and seemed to build on the momentum from his runner-up finish two weeks ago at Bay Hill.
“I hadn’t been making any putts,” he said, “and it seems like the putter just kind of woke up right about now, which is really a good time of year for it to do that.”
Bradley is 29 under par over his last nine rounds at the Golf Club of Houston, which has drawn similarities to Augusta in that it requires several drivers off the tee, has four reachable par 5s and features big, undulating greens.
“I love it,” said Bradley, who has finished in the top 10 in each of his past two appearances here. “It fits my game really nicely.”
Mickelson and Simpson both shot bogey-free 68s to fill out the threesome.
“Wow, that’s quite a feat,” said Matt Kuchar, who shot 66 in the group behind.
When told that Mickelson said it was first time he has had a bogey-free group in his career, Kuchar smiled and cracked:
“That’s the first time Phil ever had no bogeys in his career. That’s why.”