He was thinking about breaking 60 all through his final holes.
“(When) I birdied three and four, `Done deal I’m going to get this done,’” Mickelson said. “Very disappointed that I wasn’t able to birdie the last couple. … I just knew I could do it, and darn it, it just lipped out.”
Mackay didn’t say a word about a 59, treating it like a baseball pitcher with a no-hitter.
“I’m handing him the putter and just totally getting away from him,” Mackay said. “He’s comfortable, he likes that kind of stage, and he’s not scared.”
In perfect conditions on the course softened by weekend rain, Mickelson birdied the first four holes and reached 8 under with another four-birdie run capped by a 20-footer on the par-4 first _ his 10th hole of the round. He added birdies on par-5 third and par-3 fourth.
The former Arizona State star struggled in his first two events this year and also caused a sensation by saying new federal and state tax rates kept him from being part of the San Diego Padres’ ownership group and might cause him to move away from California. He tied for 51st last week at Torrey Pines in his hometown event after opening the season with a tie for 37th in La Quinta.
Five players have shot 59 in official PGA Tour events. Al Geiberger did it in the 1977 Memphis Classic, Chip Beck in the 1991 Las Vegas Invitational, David Duval in the 1999 Bob Hope Invitational, Paul Goydos in the 2010 John Deere Classic and Stuart Appleby in the 2010 Greenbrier Classic. Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa has the lowest round on a major tour, shooting a 12-under 58 to win the 2010 Crowns on the Japan Tour.
Bo Van Pelt had a 59 in the pro-am Wednesday at TPC Scottsdale, a round that Mickelson watched closely from the group behind.
“He hit a shot on 17, he was 9 under at the time, and he hit a drive that hit the pin and ended up a foot,” Mickelson said. “It should have gone in. And I kind of got into him, I said, `Look, I don’t care when it is, get a 3, make a 3 on the last hole because you don’t get a chance to shoot 59.’ Here I am the next day making a 4.”
Mickelson had a four-stroke lead over Ryan Palmer, Brandt Snedeker, Padraig Harrington and Ted Potter Jr. with half the players still on the course.
Vijay Singh withdrew before the round, a day after saying he used deer-antler spray and was “absolutely shocked” that it may contain a banned substance.
The 49-year-old Fijian cited a back injury. He faces possible sanctions from the tour.
Singh first revealed he used the spray in an interview with Sports Illustrated. The magazine said Singh paid one of the owners of Sports With Alternatives To Steroids $9,000 last November for the spray, hologram chips and other products. The company says its deer-antler substance contains a banned performance-enhancer connected to human growth hormone.
The start of play was delayed an hour because of frost.