Much like last week with Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines, the final round of the Phoenix Open will begin with the tournament most likely decided. Once again, the most drama will come from the margin of victory and whether or not records will be matched, or broken on Sunday. That's because, sitting on a six-shot cushion, Phil Mickelson has the PGA Tour's 72-hole scoring record in his sights.
If Mickelson shoots 64 or better on Sunday, he will break the 72-hole mark of 254 set by Tommy Armour III at the 2003 Valero Texas Open. That was done on a par-70 course, and Phil will try to back up his 64 on Saturday with the same number on a par-71 layout (this week, he's gone 60-65-64). Mickelson, however, has hit some roadblocks on his way to multiple record attempts this week at TPC Scottsdale. There was, of course, the cruel lip-out on the final hole on Thursday, which put Phil one-shot shy of the Tour's sixth round of 59, a historic number. He also had an opportunity on the last hole on Friday to set the Tour's 36-hole scoring mark, but took 3-wood, keeping water in play and dropping it in the drink to wash away that record-breaking attempt.
Tiger entered last week's Monday finish with a six-shot lead as well, before scuffling into the clubhouse for his 75th career win. Mickelson, who's at 24-under, leads Brandt Snedeker, who also finished a distant second to Woods last week and continues his productive first month. It's impressive, but just hasn't been good enough thanks to the dominating weeks from Woods and Mickelson.
The pace is quick early, with plenty of birdies out there as Ryan Palmer has demonstrated by picking up red numbers on five of his first six holes. Snedeker and Mickelson will play with Padraig Harrington, who's a full eight shots back at 16-under. It's a power threesome, but all eyes will be on Mickelson as he goes for another low, and record-breaking number.