Phil Mickelson keeps saying how much he loves playing with Tiger Woods. He shot 63 at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass., to prove it.
In a feature grouping of the top three players in the world ranking, Mickelson turned in the star performance Friday morning with a 28 that allowed him to consider — but only briefly — another shot at 59.
By the end of the day, when he played a risky shot from deep in the trees on his final hole to salvage bogey, he was happy to have a share of the lead. Mickelson was tied with Brian Davis, who made a 25-foot birdie putt on the last hole to join him at 8-under 63.
“What Phil did today was pretty impressive,” Woods said after a 68 that only seemed worse considering the company he kept.
Masters champion Adam Scott, rounding out the 1-2-3 pairing, struggled to a 73 and joked later that he rolled out of the wrong side of the bed. “I wish could have gotten in their jet stream,” Scott said.
Mickelson did everything right.
He started his round on the TPC Boston by making birdie putts of 20 feet on No. 10 and 30 feet on No. 11. He ended the front nine with five consecutive birdies, only the second nine-hole score of 28 on the PGA Tour this year. And even after a bogey from the bunker on No. 1, he hit a 6-iron from 213 yards that settled just more than a foot away for eagle on the next hole. That put him at 8 under for his round with seven holes to play.
“It was a good start,” Mickelson said. “I got off to a great front nine and somewhat stalled on the back. But after shooting 7 under the first nine, it was going to be a good round as long as I didn’t mess it up.”
He tried. Mickelson ended his brilliant round with two words: “Oh, no.” He hit a snap-hook off the ninth tee, so far right that it missed the fairway by some 40 yards and went so deep in the woods that fans could barely see Mickelson ducking and weaving through the branches to find his ball.
He decided against a 1-shot penalty drop out of the lateral hazard, fearing the slope would roll the ball too close to the branches and restrict his swing.
“Just give me an 8- or a 9-iron,” he told his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay. He was ready to hack away when his caddie reminded him the gallery was still in the way. Choking well up the grip, flattening the swing to avoid limbs, Mickelson chopped it out to the rough and still had 210 yards left. He knocked that one on the green and two-putted for his bogey and a 63.
Kevin Stadler birdied his last four holes for a 64.
Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan and Roberto Castro were in the group at 65. Garcia tends to skip the Deutsche Bank, but he is No. 55 in the FedEx Cup, no guarantee of being among the top 70 who advance to the third playoff event outside Chicago. Instead, the Spaniard is playing his fifth consecutive week.
Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum birdied three of her last four holes to maintain a 1-stroke lead after the second round of the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore. The 23-year-old Phatlum, winless in five seasons on the LPGA Tour, followed her opening 8-under 64 with a 66 for a tournament-record 14-under 130 total at rain-softened Columbia Edgewater.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, the 2011 tournament winner at Pumpkin Ridge, was a stroke back at 13 under after a bogey-free 63. Germany’s Sandra Gal was 12 under after her second 66, and countrywoman Caroline Masson was another stroke behind after a 64.
Rocco Mediate eagled two of the final four holes to take the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s inaugural Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary, Alberta.
The 50-year-old Mediate had an 8-under 63 at tree-lined Canyon Meadows. He played the final five holes in 6 under, making eagles on the par-5 15th and 18th and birdieing the par-3 14th and par-4 17th.
Bart Bryant, Jeff Sluman, Bobby Clampett and Canada’s Rod Spittle were a stroke back. Fred Couples opened with a 69.
Unheralded Welshman Liam Bond is making the most of a late call-up to his national event, shooting a 3-under 68 to take a 1-shot lead after the second round of the Wales Open in Newport, Wales. After opening with a first-round 69, he made five birdies to move to 5-under 137 at Celtic Manor, the 2010 Ryder Cup host.
First-round leader Espen Kofstad of Norway managed a 74 and finished tied with Tjaart van der Walt of South Africa (71), 1 shot behind the leader. Five players, including American Peter Uihlein (70) and Ireland’s Paul McGinley (69), were another shot back in a tie for fourth.