Phil Mickelson drew the loudest cheers from the biggest crowd in golf history Saturday at the Phoenix Open.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Phil Mickelson drew the loudest cheers from the biggest crowd in golf history Saturday at the Phoenix Open.
Mickelson nearly aced the par-3 16th, hitting a 9-iron to about a foot to set up a birdie on the rowdy stadium hole packed with nearly 20,000 screaming fans.
“What’s funny about that is, 172 yards is a very tough 9-iron for me to get there but I immediately take 5 yards off and in my head I had 167,” Mickelson said. “The reason is, you always have a little bit of adrenaline here and the ball goes a little bit longer on 16.
“I played for a 167-yard shot and tried to hit just a comfortable or stock 9-iron, and the ball ended up flying that far and released to the hole. Having played this course and that hole over the years and knowing what your body does and how to adjust to it has helped me, and certainly it did today.”
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Estimated at 179,022, the third-round crowd surpassed the record of 173,210 set last year, also on a Saturday at fan-friendly TPC Scottsdale. The event has drawn 467,030 fans for the week and is in position to surpass the record of 538,356 set in 2008.
Mickelson birdied the final four holes and five of the last six for a 7-under-par 64 and a six-stroke lead over Brandt Snedeker (65).
“I know how good Snedeker is and how hot he can get with a putter,” Mickelson said. “He can make birdie from just about anywhere. He’s going to make a run tomorrow. I, hopefully, will be able to keep pace.”
Hall of Famer Mickelson was at 24-under 189.
Ryan Moore (65) of Puyallup and Padraig Harrington (63) were tied for third place at 16 under.
Richard H. Lee (72), a former Washington Huskies player, was tied for 58th place at 5 under. Defending champion Kyle Stanley (74) of Gig Harbor was tied for 73rd at 1 under.
Mickelson, a 42-year-old former Arizona State standout, has led after each round, opening with a 60 and shooting a 65 on Friday. He fell a stroke short of the Tour record for the first 54 holes, and matched the tournament mark set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.
Making his 24th appearance in the event he won in 1996 and 2005, Mickelson is trying to complete his third wire-to-wire victory and first since the 2006 BellSouth Classic — a 13-stroke blowout the week before the second of his three Masters victories.
Mickelson said, “It would be an important thing because it’s meant so much to me over my career having won this tournament, coming back as a past champion, and winning here in the town that has meant so much to me, to (wife) Amy and I … “
• Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, 38, won the Australian Ladies Masters for a record eighth time. Webb closed with a 5-under 67 for a 54-hole total of 13-under 203. She won by two strokes.
• Stephen Gallacher of Scotland shot a 10-under 62 to take a three-shot lead at the Dubai Desert Classic and surpass a three-round scoring record set by Tiger Woods 12 years ago.
Gallacher, seeking his first European Tour title since 2004, was at 21-under 195 in rare rainy conditions in the desert. Richard Sterne (66) of South Africa was in second.