Pebble Beach, Calif. Phil Mickelson keeps hitting it long and going low. Fresh off a career-low 60 last week in Phoenix that led to his first victory of the year, Mickelson broke the course record at Spyglass Hill -- the toughest course in the rotation -- with a 10-under 62 that gave him a three-shot lead Thursday in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
"Honestly, I've never driven it this far," Mickelson said.
He took advantage of pristine conditions on the Monterey Peninsula, with brilliant blue skies and only a trace of wind that made Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Poppy Hills so tame that more than half the 180-man field broke par.
And as always, Mickelson was a thrill a minute.
One birdie came out of a bed of ice plant on the fourth hole. Another came on the 527-yard seventh hole, when Mickelson hit a 6-iron off the cart path to the edge of the green and easily got up and down. He hit driver on the 325-yard 17th hole that left him 8 yards from the front of the green, leading to a tap-in birdie.
A 15-foot birdie on the final hole gave Mickelson a three-shot lead over Davis Love III, Charles Howell III, Kevin Sutherland, Daniel Chopra and Hunter Mahan.
It was the largest first-round lead at this tournament since Tom Watson led by three in 1978. Mickelson's 62 was two shots better than the previous course record at Spyglass, last set by David Berganio four years ago.
"A 62 is good at Bermuda Dunes," Sutherland said. "A 62 at Spyglass is a whole different story. That's an amazing round."