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August 30. 2013 8:27PM

Mickelson flirts with a 59, shares Deutsche Bank lead

NORTON, Mass. — Phil Mickelson fired a brilliant front-nine 28 on Friday en route to a share of the first-round lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Friday.

Mickelson started early on the 10th tee and went a 7-under through his opening nine holes as he quickly showed how easy scoring could be on the soft greens at the TPC Boston. He closed with an 8-under par 63.

“I played really well, obviously putted really well,” said Mickelson, who admitted that at the turn he had considered his chances of shooting just the sixth 59 on the PGA Tour.

“The greens were perfect on my front nine and I saw the line and just rolled them in. It felt really good to putt like that.”

But with the shadows falling, England’s Brian Davis, bogey-free throughout his round, drained a curling 25-foot putt on his final hole to finish with two consecutive birdies and earn his place atop the overnight leaderboard.

British Open champion Mickelson’s hopes of a truly remarkable score were undone by bogeys on the first and last holes of his back nine, although an eagle at the par-5 second ensured he did not undo much of his outstanding start.

Mickelson, the world’s No. 3 golfer, was grouped with Tiger Woods and Adam Scott, ranked first and second in the world, respectively, and he set the perfect tone with a 19-foot putt for birdie on his opening hole.

The left-hander birdied every hole on the back nine except the par-4 12th and 13th, producing pin-point iron shots and composed putting.

Woods, the FedExCup points leader, mixed four birdies with a bogey for a 3-under 68 while Scott (73) had three bogeys and a lone birdie on an ideal morning for low scoring.

“It was a decent day, I didn’t hit the ball as well as I’d like to but I scored all right. Missed a few opportunities,” said Woods, who showed no indications of his recent back troubles. “The back was fine, all good.”


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