TUCSON, JAN. 12 -- Phil Mickelson flirted with the 50s by shooting 29 on the front nine today and put himself in position to become only the second amateur in 37 years to win a PGA Tour event.

The Arizona State junior with NCAA and U.S. Amateur titles shot 65 to take a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Tucson Open. For a while, there was the chance the score would be much, much better. Like 59.

"I'm pleased with the overall outcome," said Mickelson, at 201 for three rounds.

David Peoples, on a 66 today, and Corey Pavin, 69, shared second at 203. Scott Hoch (70) had 204. Second-round leader Craig Stadler slipped to 72 and a tie at 205 with Mark Brooks (65) and Bob Tway (71).

Mickelson played the first eight holes of the TPC at Starpass in 7 under par -- five birdies and an eagle -- and had a shot at the tour's single-round record of 59, set by Al Geiberger at Memphis in 1977.

"When I was seven under after eight I thought it was possible," said Mickelson, a 6-foot-2 left-hander.

He went 8 under with a birdie 4 on the 11th and put his second shot on the green on the par-5 No. 14. But he three-putted. And he bogeyed two of the final three holes.