Mickelson vaults into tie with 60

By wire services
Published February 5, 2005

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Arizona feels like home to Phil Mickelson, especially on 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 lived in Scottsdale before moving to California, tied the course record with 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. Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval shot 59. Mickelson, last year's Masters champion, was the 16th to shoot 60.

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

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

Mickelson, seeking his 24th victory and first this year, 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 disrupted play Thursday subsided, and the scores dropped accordingly.

Bernhard Langer and Michael Allen shot 66 and shared third place at 6-under 136, three back. Nine were tied at 5 under. First-round leader Dudley Hart shot 73 and was 2 under.

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 made eagle, knocking it in from the fringe, on the same hole in the second round later in the day.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Colin Montgomerie, the runnerup at last week's Caltex Masters in Singapore, had six birdies and no bogeys Friday in a 6-under-par 65 that left him tied with Peter Lonard for the second-round lead in the Heineken Classic in Melbourne, Australia.

"The last two days here, I have been hitting the fairways and then hitting the greens," Montgomerie, 41, said. "And I holed nine putts, so we are doing okay."

Montgomerie and Lonard (68) were at 9-under 133, a shot ahead of Jarrod Lyle (66) and Trevor Immelman (69), who shared the first-round lead with Lonard and Steve Webster (72).

Ernie Els, trying to win the event for the fourth straight year, shot 64 and was three back.