Phil Mickelson holds a one-shot lead in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, where he had seven birdies through his opening nine holes.
The British Open champion finished his first round at 8-under-par 63 at the TPC Boston golf course in Norton, Massachusetts, site of the second event of the U.S. PGA Tour’s playoff series. It’s his lowest career round at the course.
Mickelson, playing in a group with Tiger Woods and Adam Scott, winner of last week’s Barclays event and the Masters Tournament, had eight birdies, an eagle and two bogeys. He finished his first nine holes with a score of 28, putting him in position for a record-tying round of 59.
His final nine holes produced a 1-under-par 35, capped by a bogey on the ninth hole when the five-time major champion hit his tee shot into a wooded area. Mickelson sits one shot ahead of Kevin Stadler and two in front of Hunter Mahan.
“I wasn’t too worried about shooting 59,” Mickelson said in a televised interview with the Golf Channel. “I was more worried about keeping it in the low 60s. I made two bad swings today, otherwise I hit a lot of good ones.”
The left hander began play on the course’s 10th hole with consecutive birdies and closed the opening nine with another five birdies in a row. He then bogeyed his 10th hole after hitting an approach shot in a greenside bunker before making an eagle on the par-5 second hole to reach 8-under. He parred the next five holes before a birdie-bogey finish.
In January, Mickelson narrowly missed a chance to become the sixth golfer to complete a round of 59 in an official U.S. PGA Tour event when a 25-foot birdie putt on his final hole caught the lip of the cup and spun out. He went on to win the tournament at 28-under par, the second-best score for a 72-hole event in U.S. PGA Tour history.
Stuart Appleby was the most recent player to shoot a 59 on the PGA Tour, during the final round of the 2010 Greenbrier Classic. Paul Goydos, David Duval, Chip Beck and Al Geiberger are the only other golfers with 59s in an official PGA Tour round. Bo Van Pelt shot a 59 during the Phoenix Open Pro-Am two days ago.
Mickelson has shot 60 three times in his career.
Woods, a two-time winner of golf’s season-long FedEx Cup points competition, shot 3-under 68, while Scott shot 2-over 73.
The top 100 players on the points list following the Barclays qualified for the Boston event. After this week, the top 70 move on to the BMW Championship outside Chicago from Sept. 12 to 15. The top 30 in the standings then compete for the FedEx Cup title and its $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship in Atlanta from Sept. 19 to 22.