NORTON, Mass. -- For the second time this year, Phil Mickelson put the game's magic 59 number on the radar screen but ended up settling for a 63 in Friday's opening round at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
The 63 is two strokes off the TPC Boston course record and ties Mickelson's low round at this event.
Mickelson, ranked No. 3 in FedExCup points, played in the same group as No. 1 ranked Tiger Woods and No. 2 Adam Scott, last week's winner at The Barclays.
While Mickelson walked off the course as the clubhouse leader, Woods settled for a 3-under 68 while Scott struggled to a 73.
Mickelson, who shot 60 in the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open that he went on to win, started on the back nine and set the tone for the day with birdies on his first two holes. He went on to turn in 28 -- which matched his lowest nine ever, shot in the second round of the 1997 Las Vegas Invitational. It was the ninth time in his PGA TOUR career he has broken 30 for nine holes.
After his birdie at the 17th hole -- his eighth hole on the day -- that put him at 6 under and headed to a par-5 hole, Mickelson said he "felt like there was a chance to go really low."
After making the turn, he bogeyed the No. 1 hole after a poor gap wedge left him in the bunker, but he bounced back with an eagle at the par-5 second when his second shot landed 2 feet from the pin.
At that point, 59 was in sight. But he could parred the next five holes before a birdie at the par-3 eighth.
Mickelson said afterward that he knew TPC Boston's front side -- where he would finish -- would be harder than his first nine holes. He said he had birdied the drivable 298-yard fourth hole, he would have thought about shooting 59. But instead, his drive got hung up in the fringe around the bunker and he failed to find the green with his next shot.
"I still felt I could have shot 3 or 4 under (on his finishing nine)," Mickelson said. "... I wasn't too worried about shooting 59."
On his finishing hole, the ninth, Mickelson found trouble off the tee, his ball ending up in the thick brush and trees down the right-hand side. He managed to extract himself without a penalty stroke but ultimately dropped a shot.
That tee shot, along with his gap wedge at No. 1, were his "only two bad swings," Mickelson said.
MICKELSON'S SUB-PAR HOLES