Filling out the "Big Three" was Vijay Singh, who had his best round in a month and was bringing up the rear.
The glamour group at the Deutsche Bank Championship lived up to expectations Saturday. One day after they combined to go 3 over par in the opening round, they were a combined 19 under in swirling conditions at TPC Boston.
Woods and Mickelson each had a 64. Singh, in danger of missing three straight cuts for the first time in his career, had a 66.
"We all made some putts and got it going," Woods said. "When you get in those groups, when you all feed off one another, when you're all going low, all making birdies, those are fun pairings to get involved in."
Mickelson was the first to get going, chipping in for birdie on the 15th and for eagle on the 18th, sprinkling in birdies at No. 16 and No. 1, then hitting a flop shot over a mound on the par-5 second that spun back to 3 feet for another birdie.
"I was 7 under through eight holes, and that kind of was the round for me," said Mickelson, who was at 8-under 134.
He was six shots ahead of Woods after 11 holes when Woods took off. After a 15-foot birdie on the third, Woods drove the 298-yard fourth green and holed the 35-foot eagle putt, then added birdies on the sixth and seventh holes. He wound up at 6-under 136.
"I just needed to make a few more birdies, and all of a sudden I caught fire on the back nine," Woods said. "I think I went 6 under through six, and that basically got me back into the tournament."
Singh was at 3 over for the tournament until running off four straight birdies around the turn.
"We were more into it today," Singh said. "That was more how we thought we'd play."
It was the first time on the PGA Tour they played together, courtesy of a PGA Tour Playoffs system that groups players in the first two rounds according to their standing in the points list. Woods was No. 4, Mickelson No. 5 and Singh No. 6.
REGULAR RICH: Rich Beem lives the good life on the PGA Tour, playing the best courses with the best players, taking part in pro-ams with the rich and famous. But he still enjoys going back to his roots a municipal golf course, a few beers, lots of laughs.
Beem was having lunch with his caddie, Billy Heim, on Monday in Rhode Island when he mentioned he was going to play golf and the waitress recommended a course in Providence called Triggs, an old Donald Ross design.