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Mickelson shoots 59 to win Grand Slam
by Associated Press

POIPU BEACH, Hawaii (AP) - Phil Mickelson ended his magical year with golf's magic number.

The Masters champion shot a 13-under 59 on Wednesday to win the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a two-day competition for the year's four major winners.

Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval are the only players to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour, and Annika Sorenstam shot a 59 on the LPGA Tour. Mickelson's score will not count in the record books because the PGA Grand Slam is not an official event.

Shigeki Maruyama carded a 58 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., during qualifying for the 2000 U.S. Open.

Mickelson barely missed a 9-foot eagle putt to the left on the last hole that would have given him a 58. He tapped in for birdie and smiled as the gallery cheered wildly.

Mickelson's 59 moved him from third place to first, with a 17-under 127 total, which tied the course record and beat PGA champion Vijay Singh by five strokes.

Lefty had 11 birdies, an eagle and no bogeys to win $400,000. He putted just 23 times, including 11 times on the front nine. It was a spectacular way to end a season Mickelson won't forget: His victory at Augusta National allowed him to shed the label of "best player never to win a major," and he went on to finish a close second in the U.S. Open, third in the British Open and tied for sixth in the PGA.

Mickelson's previous competitive career low was 61 at the 2001 Greater Hartford Open. His season low was a 63 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Singh, the No. 1 player in the world, shot a 66 and earned $250,000, while first-round leader Retief Goosen - the U.S. Open champ - closed with a 68 to finish at 11-under. British Open champion Todd Hamilton finished last at 1-over 145 after a 75.

In balmy and calm conditions at the oceanside Poipu Bay Golf Course, Mickelson struggled off the tee at times but compensated with impressive short play.

Mickelson became just the third player to win the event since 1998. Last year, Jim Furyk snapped Tiger Woods' record string of five straight Grand Slam victories.

Mickelson birdied Nos. 13-15 to open a commanding four-stroke edge and closed with birdies on Nos. 16 and 18.

But it was on the front nine when Mickelson surged to the top of the leaderboard. His tournament-record 28 on the front side included six birdies and an eagle. He broke Woods' mark of 30 set in 2000.

Mickelson, who had two eagles Tuesday, carded four straight birdies followed by an eagle on the 573-yard No. 6 to tie Goosen for the lead at 10 under.

His 15-foot eagle putt was set up by a 324-yard drive and a 247-yard second shot with a utility wood. Mickelson sank a 3{-foot birdie putt on the next hole to take his first outright lead of the tournament.

The birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle streak was the best in tournament history. The streak ended after Mickelson found two bunkers on the 374-yard No. 8, but he still managed to save par there.

Goosen, who was fighting a cold, opened with a 65 and had a stroke lead over Singh and three-stroke edge over Mickelson to start the second round.

Trying to make up some ground, Mickelson, Singh and Hamilton each made birdie on the par-5 second, but Goosen eagled with a spectacular second shot from 209 yards to 12 feet to take a two-stroke advantage over Singh. Goosen expanded the lead to three strokes with a birdie on the next hole.

Hamilton, who won two events and finished 11th on money list with $3,063,778, never contended for the lead.

The former longtime Japan tour pro's round included two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on the par-3 No. 11.


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