Grand Slam of Golf

Phil Mickelson turned in the round of his life Wednesday. (Photo: Getty Images)

Mickelson makes Grand Slam history with amazing 59

Phil Mickelson turned Poipu Bay Golf Course into his own personal playground Wednesday, firing an eye-popping 13-under-par 59 that shattered the PGA Grand Slam of Golf record of 61 and powered the reigning Masters Champion to victory in the exclusive event reserved for major winners. Amazingly, Mickelson hit only five fairways while registering the lowest round of life.

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.

"It was certainly unexpected," said Mickelson, who hadn't touched a club for two weeks before the tournament. "I didn't hit it great today and somehow I shot 59. So go figure. It just all kind of came together."

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.

"I just went out and just kind of played and today, the ball went in the hole," he said. "I don't really have an explanation for it."

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 24 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.

"I made everything," he said. "It was a great feeling to see the ball go in the hole. Awesome."

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.

"Phil outplayed everybody -- or outscored everybody," Singh said. "It was incredible. After about the 12th or 15th hole, we were just watching him."

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

He 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.

With his face caked in sunscreen, Mickelson was relaxed and loose throughout the round, chatting with his opponents and caddie Jim "Bones" McKay.

"C'mon Bones, let's see if we can make at least one putt today," Mickelson said with a smile while walking up to his short birdie attempt on No. 12. It was his seventh birdie of the day.

Mickelson, who won two tour events this year and finished third on money list with more than $5.7 million, 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 31/2-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. That run 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.

"Didn't feel all that great today," Goosen said. "Really, in the middle of the round, (I) lost a bit of energy and really started getting a bit dizzy."

Goosen will now return to his home in London to spend time with his new daughter Ella Ann, born Friday.

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.

Singh, coming off a nine-win, tour-record $10,905,166 season, captured second place by sinking an 11-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

"You play your own game out there," he said. "It doesn't matter if a guy is shooting 59 or 79. You just go out there and hit off the tee."

The Grand Slam featured three of the top five players in the world. The elite foursome won a combined 15 events and more than $23 million this year on the PGA Tour.

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, which came on the par-3 No. 11.

But all was not lost for Hamilton.

"I had a great view to watch two pretty good rounds of golf and one superb round of golf," he said. "I actually felt like I was in everyone's way today."

Divots: Singh had fun with a reporter who asked about his abilities when he worked as a bouncer in Scotland. "Why don't you try me?" Singh said. "Keep asking these questions, I'll probably have to bounce you out of here." ... Singh was presented the Vardon Trophy for having the PGA Tour's lowest scoring average (68.84), beating out Ernie Els (68.98). ... An agreement was reached to bring the Grand Slam to Kauai for the 12th straight year in 2005.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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  • Mickelson makes Grand Slam history with amazing 59 (11/24/04) —Phil Mickelson turned Poipu Bay Golf Course into his own personal playground Wednesday, firing an eye-popping 13-under-par 59 that shattered the PGA Grand Slam of Golf record of 61 and powered the reigning Masters Champion to victory in the exclusive event reserved for major winners. Amazingly, Mickelson hit only five fairways while registering the lowest round of life.
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  • Open champ Hamilton heading to Hawaii (07/23/04) — Todd Hamilton earned some mighty nice perks for winning the 133rd Open Championship at Royal Troon, not the least of which was a free trip to Poipu Bay Golf Course in Kauai, Hawaii, for the exclusive PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Hamilton, a PGA Tour rookie who defeated Ernie Els in a four-hole playoff to win the claret jug, joins Masters champion Phil Mickelson and U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen in the one-of-kind event that brings together the year's four major championship winners.
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