Harrington in contention as Mickelson goes low

2/1/2013 6:22:27 AM
Phil Mickelson  (Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson (Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson was agonisingly close to a record-equalling 59 as he established a four shot lead on the first day of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Two-time champion Mickelson struck 11 birdies for an 11 under 60, but he could have become the sixth player to card a 59 in US PGA Tour history had his putt on his final hole, the ninth, not lipped out.

Faced with a 26 foot putt, Mickelson appeared to have put the ball on exactly the right course, only to see it horseshoe around the hole to groans from the assembled crowds.

"I'm ecstatic to shoot 60," Mickelson Said. "I am excited and so forth but you don't get chances to shoot 59 very often.

"To have that putt on line, I'm kind of mortified that it didn't go in."

When the dust settled, and play was suspended by darkness with 33 players yet to complete their round, Mickelson could reflect on a four shot lead over a group of five players which included three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington.

The Irishman carded seven birdies for a seven under 64 to sit alongside Americans Brandt Snedeker, Jeff Maggert, Ryan Palmer and Ted Potter.

Behind them were 11 players on six under, including Belgian Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts and Korean YE Yang.