Analysis of the relationship between prestimulus EEG alpha phase and the subsequent ERP has proved difficult because of the non-Euclidean nature of phase measurements. In this study, we employed a conventional P3 templating method of single-trial analysis to identify the P3 component in target auditory oddball data from 25 normals. As in previous studies, the absence or near absence of P3 from a subset of single-trials was clearly demonstrated. We investigated this phenomenon to determine whether those single-trials with a large P3 had a different prestimulus alpha phase from those with a small or no P3. Statistical analysis of phase required the use of circular statistical analysis and the development of a new form of topographic mapping, circular topography. The alpha phase at stimulus onset in single-trials with a large P3 was significantly different from that in single-trials with a small or no P3 (p = .02).