NORTON -- Nobody who started the day near the lead has created some separation, leaving a very bunched-up leaderboard as third-round play continues at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Bubba Watson, one of three who shared the lead at the start of the day, is just 1-under on his round, but holds the outright lead over Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel, both of whom are even-par today. At 11-under, Watson leads those two by one.
That's when it gets crowded. Jim Furyk (66), Gary Woodland (66), Webb Simpson (67), and four others are at 9-under, with seven more at 8-under.
1 p.m.: When what he termed a lucky shot found the bottom of the cup from 172 yards for an eagle, Phil Mickelson admitted he had thoughts of shooting 59.
"Oh yeah, I did," Mickelson said, after settling for 63 today at TPC Boston, which brought him to 7-under-par, currently three shots off the pace still held by Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, and Bubba Watson. The leaders will tee off in slightly more than an hour.
Mickelson's best score at the Deutsche Bank Championship once again came with him using a belly putter, but he credited good ball-striking as the key. He hit 15 greens, four more than in both of the first two rounds. And while his 27 putts are his best number through three rounds, the longest birdie putt he made was 8 feet.
It was a mid-round birdie-birdie-eagle stretch that put 59 in Lefty's mind. He holed out from thick rough on the 12th hole, using a 7-iron from 172 yards. He missed three makeable putts coming in: a 15-footer for birdie on No. 15, a 17-footer for birdie on the 17th, and a 10-footer for eagle on No. 18.
While he's improved 61 places on the leaderboard -- he was tied for 67th at the start of the day, and his tap-in birdie on No. 18 pulled him into a tie for sixth -- don't expect him to be all that close to the lead at the end of the day. Low numbers are out there, with Camilo Villegas and defending champion Charley Hoffman shooting 65 -- so someone either in the lead or near it will probably reach 14- or 15-under-par. That would leave Mickelson seven or eight shots back, meaning he's probably need another 63, or lower, to make a run at the trophy.
10 a.m.: Cloud cover has hovered over TPC Boston, bringing a threat of an afternoon shower or thunderstorm. But third-round play hasn't been affected at the Deutsche Bank Championship, with Phil Mickelson already sending a buzz through the property.
Mickelson has played 13 holes and is 7-under-par, just completing a birdie-birdie-eagle stretch by holing out from 173 yards on the par-4 12th with a 7-iron. He birdied Nos. 2, 3, and 4 to turn in 33, then birdied the 10th, birdied the 11th, and eagled the 12th.
The 2007 Deutsche Bank winner's best score at TPC Boston is a second-round 64 the year he won. Today's surge has pushed him from a tie for 67th into a tie for 11th at 6-under. Camilo Villegas (5-under through 15), Chris Stroud (3-under through four), and John Rollins (3-under through seven) are also making moves.