Sizzling Mickelson surges six ahead in Phoenix

Sat Feb 2, 2013 6:17pm EST

U.S. golfer Phil Mickelson hits off the 11th tee of the north course at Torrey Pines during first round play at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, California January 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

U.S. golfer Phil Mickelson hits off the 11th tee of the north course at Torrey Pines during first round play at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, California January 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson continued his red-hot form as he stormed home with five birdies in his last six holes to stretch his lead to a commanding six shots after the third round of the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday.

Four ahead of the chasing pack overnight, Mickelson fired a sizzling seven-under-par 64 on another near-perfect day for low scoring at the TPC Scottsdale to tighten his grip on the tournament.

The American left-hander pumped his left fist in celebration after rolling in a 15-footer to birdie the last and post a 24-under total of 189, just one shy of the PGA Tour low for 54 holes.

Compatriot Steve Stricker, with rounds of 60, 66 and 62, set the record at 25-under 188 in the 2010 John Deere Classic.

Birdies at the 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th and the par-four last gave Mickelson a scintillating back nine of five-under 31, leaving fellow American Brandt Snedeker (65) alone in second place at 18 under, a distant six strokes off the pace.

In front of record crowds, Irishman Padraig Harrington fired the day's lowest score with a 63 to sit joint third at 16 under with American Ryan Moore (65).

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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