In the second leg of the FedExCup playoffs, Phil Mickelson went out early and lit the TPC Boston course on fire with an eight-under 63, and then watched as Englishman Brian Davis matched him in the afternoon.
As the top 10 players in FedEx points continue the playoff, that 63 was good enough to hand the pair the lead but narrowly missing out on the course record of 61 on this 7,207-yard, par-71 layout.
The bevy of low scores at the Deutsche Bank Championship is not surprising and will likely continue all week. As PGATour.com points out, with a scoring average of 70.647 in 2012, TPC Boston was the fourth easiest of the par-71s on tour last year.
Take a look at the leaderboard, and then we'll get further into the recap.
View the full leaderboard at PGA.com.
|12 more golfers are tied at -5|
As impressive as Mickelson's early 63 was, it was a touch disappointing. That is only due to the fact that Lefty was playing otherworldly on the front nine and was making a run at history.
Mickelson, who was playing with Adam Scott and Tiger Woods, began his day on the back nine. Lefty promptly birdied the first two holes to put everyone on notice.
While Scott struggled from the start of his round en route to a two-over 73, Woods was looking strong and birdied No. 11.
After Woods and Mickelson both parred Nos. 12 and 13, it looked like these two golfing heavyweights would be going back and forth all day.
Tiger continued to play well, which is no surprise since he was rolling the ball well. Check out this birdie effort on No. 6:
In all, Woods suffered just one bogey on the day and wound up with a three-under 68.
Still, that was not good enough to stay anywhere near Mickelson.
After his par on No. 13, Mickelson birdied five straight to finish out the front side with a jaw dropping 28. That put him at seven-under on the par 35 backside and had everyone buzzing about a possible 59.
It was just earlier this year in Phoenix when Mickelson missed a putt on the final hole to miss out on a 59, and here he was with another crack at it.
Mickelson hit the turn and promptly dropped a stroke to the course with a bogey on No. 1, but in typical Lefty fashion, he came right back and eagled the par-five second hole with the aid of this 200-plus yard approach shot:
However, Mickelson cooled off as dreams of a 59 began to fade. He had just one more birdie left in him for the day, and after his drive found the trees on No. 9, he played well to finish his round with a bogey. Still, he was understandably upbeat following his round:
Lefty was right to point out his putter. He finished the day with 4.319 strokes gained-putting.
Mickelson had to have thought his lead was safe at that point, but Davis had other ideas, which no one could have seen coming.
Heading into this event, the 39-year-old Davis had missed the cut in his last four PGA starts. He is going to have to have a really terrible Saturday to miss the cut this week.
Davis didn't suffer a bogey in his round, and he finished both the back (he also started on No. 10) and front side with three straight birdies.
Davis' ball striking was spot on. He hit 85.7 percent of fairways and 88.9 percent of his greens in regulation.
He also managed to drill a few putts—like this lengthy effort on the par-three third hole:
Checking In with the Contenders
Kevin Stadler began his round on the back nine. After four holes, he was a lackluster one-over. He played the remaining 14 holes at eight-under par.
Stadler's impressive finish included notching a birdie on each of the final four holes and five of the last six. While that clearly bodes well for Stadler going forward, this streaky golfer has been in this position before:
From one streaky golfer to another, Hunter Mahan pieced together a fine round, and he has a little more experience at keeping a hot hand rolling.
Mahan was outstanding and consistent on Friday as he drilled his bogey-free round en route to going six-under par. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him work his way into the lead.
Then there is Rory McIlroy. In a season that has wildly fallen below expectations, McIlroy's Friday at TPC Boston was befitting of his year.
He played marvelous golf at times and finished his round with six birdies. However, he also carded five bogeys to sit at just one-under. There's no doubt that laser-sighted approach shots like this are a good sign for the 24-year-old, though:
With a host of talented golfers in contention on a vulnerable course, this is going to be a wild tournament.