Mickelson surges into share of the lead with Singh
The best in golf returned to Indiana for the first time in more than 20 years, and based on the All-Star performance that broke out Saturday in the BMW Championship at Carmel, Ind., this show might leave these golf-hungry fans even more mesmerized.
The last big event at Crooked Stick was the 1991 PGA Championship featuring an unknown rookie named John Daly who turned it into a one-man show of power golf.
There are no mystery guests this time.
Not with Phil Mickelson making 10 birdies, including a 6-iron on the par-3 17th that he described as a "salty little cut, back into the wind." He had a 64 and wound up tied for the lead with Vijay Singh, who has taken only 74 putts through three rounds, but had a three-putt on the 18th hole that gave him a 69 and cost him the outright lead.
Mickelson and Singh, both in the World Golf Hall of Fame, were at 16-under 200.
Right behind them were two-time major Rory McIlroy and former world No. 1 Lee Westwood, followed by the likes of Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson. And only three shots behind was Tiger Woods, who keeps getting the most out of a scrappy game and is very much in the mix going into Sunday.
"The cream has risen to the top, hasn't it?" Westwood said.
This follows the Deutsche Bank Championship in which McIlroy held off Louis Oosthuizen, Woods, Mickelson and Johnson. The opening week at The Barclays featured Nick Watney beating Ryder Cup pick Brandt Snedeker, Johnson and Sergio Garcia.
And now this - perhaps the strongest leaderboard in golf all year going into the final round.
The 16 players separated by five shots have won 29 majors and 21 World Golf Championships, and four of them have been No. 1 in the world over the last decade.
"The crowd is pretty rowdy, and it's an incredible leaderboard," Scott said. "It's going to be fun. I'm glad I put myself in that position."
Singh was the dominant figure throughout the day. The 49-year-old Fijian hasn't won on the PGA Tour in four years, and he was desperate to show that he could put four good rounds together and end that drought. He made enough birdies to offset a few silly mistakes - mostly short putts that he missed - and he held it together until the end. Singh was in trouble on the par-5 15th until he chipped in for birdie from 50 feet.
He followed that by missing a 4-foot par putt, only to answer with an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th. He was poised to take the outright lead until his approach to the 18th spun down a ridge, and he gunned the 45-foot putt some 5 feet by the cup and missed it coming back.
"I've one more to do," Singh said. "I've got to play a little better than what I did today. I've got to make less mistakes than I did today. I think I can do that."
Mickelson had his best score since he closed with a 64 to win at Pebble Beach in a final-round pairing with Woods. He has gone quiet since the Masters, however, but a change to a claw-style putting grip has coincided with improved play. Lefty felt his game turning around last week on the TPC Boston, where he put together four straight rounds in the 60s, and Saturday only affirmed it.
Paula Creamer takes lead at Kingsmill
Paula Creamer moved into position to end a two-year victory drought, shooting a 6-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Kingsmill Championship at Willaimsburg, Va.
The nine-time LPGA Tour winner chipped in for birdie on the par-4 13th in her bogey-free round on Kingsmill's River Course. She had a 16-under 197 total, the lowest 54-hole score in the history of the event.
"I haven't won in two years. That feels like forever, but it also feels like yesterday when I did just win, so it's kind of a give or take," Creamer said. "I've been in contention a lot, so it's not that I'm not used to this, that's for sure.
"No matter what happens tomorrow, I'm just going out there and continue what I've been doing this whole year and it's just starting to come together and one round isn't going to make or break it, that's for sure."
Second-round leader Jiyai Shin was second after a 69.
Shin also is winless since 2010.
"Well, I think when I following the leader, it makes me feel better because I knew the target," Shin said. "When I started on the leader, when I miss the shot, it make more pressure. So I really very comfortable with my position at the moment."
Dewi Claire Schreefel and Danielle Kang were 12 under. Schreefel had a 69, and Kang shot 70.
Second-ranked Staci Lewis was 11 under along with Ai Miyazato and Azahara Munoz. Lewis shot a 68, Miyazato had a 67, and Munoz a 69. Lewis and Miyazato each have two victories this year, and Munoz also won this season.
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