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Mickelsonleads surge toward top

©Associated Press

December 15, 2002

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Phil Mickelson put on a spectacular display and led the U.S. charge at the World Cup on Saturday.

Mickelson buried his recent slump with a round that included 10 birdies and an eagle as he and David Toms shot 15-under-par 57 to tie a Cup record. That left the Americans at 27 under, three shots behind third-round leader Japan.

Shigeki Maruyama and Toshi Izawa had the lead at 30 under. The smiling Maruyama and stoic Izawa nearly matched the Americans, shooting 58 in the best-ball format. They had 12 birdies and an eagle, the latter by Izawa on the par-4 13th, where he holed his second shot from 75 yards.

"That was the shot of the day," Maruyama said through an interpreter.

Fiji's team of Vijay Singh and Dinesh Chand was second at 29 under, while defending champion South Africa, with Rory Sabbatini and Tim Clark, were 28 under.

The U.S. started the round seven shots behind of Fiji.

FATHER-SON CHALLENGE: Craig Stadler and Hale Irwin took advantage of their sons' length off the tee to shoot 10-under 60 in a scramble format and share the lead at the Champions Tour event on Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Raymond Floyd, who has won the tournament five times in seven years, was two strokes back playing with Raymond Jr.

The 19-team field is for major championship winners and their sons.

"I just dug my spurs in and rode him hard," Stadler said of son Kevin, who played at Southern California and is on the mini tours.

Steve Irwin carried his father, the three-time U.S. Open champion, by hitting approach shots so close that the 57-year-old Irwin didn't have to putt until the 14th hole.

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