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Hole of the day: No. 9

8/21/2001

DULUTH, Ga. --The drama between David Toms and Phil Mickelson was on the back nine Sunday.

The key hole may have been the one that closed the front.

Toms started the day with a two-shot lead over Mickelson, but that was gone by the fifth hole. Toms was scrambling -- a 12-foot putt for par at the first, an up-and-down at the third, a save from the bunker at the fifth.

Toms and Mickelson matched pars on the sixth, seventh and eighth, with Mickelson hitting the flag on No. 7 and rolling in a 5-foot par putt on No. 8.

At the 416-yard ninth - which played as the 14th-hardest hole Sunday -- Toms hit his drive to the middle of the fairway. Mickelson, meanwhile, hit his ball in the rough.

Toms, hitting first, dropped a pitching wedge to within a foot on the pin. Mickelson, undecided over his lie, changed at the last minute from his L-wedge to sand wedge, hoping for some additional distance.

He didn't get it, leaving the ball short and in the fairway. He couldn't get up and down.

"It just came out not very fast," he said. "It came out very dead."

For the first time since the second hole, Toms had a two-shot lead. And he used it to his advantage on the back nine.

"I looked at the leaderboard on No. 9, the other guys were making a move in front of us, so all of a sudden, you make a couple of bogeys and you're tied with a bunch of people," Toms said. "So I decided to get back in the mindset the way I played the first three days and maybe attacking where I could, instead of playing away from all the pins. I was able to do that a couple times."