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Mickelson shoots a 60 to share FBR Open lead



Published: Sat, February 5, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Master champ tied with 21-year-old Kevin Na at 9 under headed into third round.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona still feels like home to Phil Mickelson, especially on a day like Friday, when he had one of the best rounds of his life, and one of the lowest scores in PGA Tour history.

The Arizona State alum, who long lived in Scottsdale before moving to California, tied the course record with an 11-under 60 in the second round of the FBR Open.

Mickelson birdied the final five holes to finish one stroke shy of the PGA Tour record for 18 holes -- 59, held by Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval. The Masters champion is the 16th player to shoot a 60.

"It was a wonderful day," Mickelson said. "No complaints here."

Halfway through the 72-hole event, he shared the lead at 9-under 133 with 21-year-old Kevin Na, the youngest player on the PGA Tour.

It was the lowest round ever for Mickelson in an official PGA Tour event, bettering a third-round 61 in his 2001 Greater Hartford Open victory. He shot a 59 last Nov. 24 at the PGA Grand Slam. Mickelson tied the FBR Open -- formerly the Phoenix Open -- course record set by Grant Waite in 1996 and matched by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.

Mickelson, seeking his 24th tour victory and first of 2005, had nine birdies and an eagle on the 7,216-yard Tournament Players Club course, where he won in 1996.

"I would have taken 65 and been ecstatic, because I would be 4 under and be within four or five of the lead going into the weekend," he said.

"Instead, I'm near the lead if not on top of it, because I love this tournament."

Wind that had disrupted play Thursday subsided, and the scores dropped accordingly.

Bernhard Langer and Michael Allen shot 66s on Friday and shared third place at 6-under 136, three shots behind the leaders. Nine were tied at 5 under. First-round leader Dudley Hart shot a 73 and was at 2-under 140.

Made the cut

Seventy-seven players made the cut at 3-over 145. Among those who didn't was Justin Leonard, winner of last week's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, who shot a 4-over 146.

Mickelson had to finish his first round Friday morning after play was suspended Thursday by darkness. He began by sinking a birdie putt on the par-4, 332-yard 17th hole, then he had an eagle, knocking it in from the fringe, on the same hole in the second round later in the day.

As darkness fell on Thursday, Mickelson had decided to mark his ball overnight and putt Friday because he was in the line of Tom Lehman, playing in the same group. Lehman also waited.

"He ended up making the putt and gave me a perfect line, so it worked out for both of us," Mickelson said.

Lehman, inspired by his partner's performance, shot a 65 for a 3-under total.

"I kind of got sucked in, in the wake of Phil's 60," Lehman said.

Mickelson was 4 over through 12 holes on Thursday, but scrambled to a 2-over 73, six shots behind the leader entering the second round.

He began on the back nine with three consecutive pars, then he had birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th holes. On the 17th, he putted from the fringe and made it from 77 feet, the big gallery roaring in approval. Mickelson got to 4 under with a birdie on the par-5, 554-yard third hole, then mounted his magnificent charge down the stretch.

Each of his last five approach shots was within 10 feet of the hole, and all were birdies. After missing the first six fairways Thursday, the hard-driving left-hander hit 16 of the remaining 22.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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