CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Even with his best round of the year, Phil Mickelson knew it wouldn’t be enough to stay in the lead Saturday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

That was OK with Lefty.

All he wanted was a chance, and Mickelson hasn’t had a better chance to win all year.

Mickelson roared into contention by playing a six-hole stretch in 7-under par on the front nine, and keeping bogeys off his card with a wedge that danced around the cup on the 18th for a 9-under 63.

    Most Read Stories

He was leading when he finished and wound up two shots behind J.B. Holmes, who overtook Martin Flores (69) for the lead on the last hole.

“I don’t think I’ll be leading at the end of the day because I think there are some birdies out there,” he said. “But just to be in contention, and to have a chance at a golf course that I’ve become so close to over the years, I’m excited about tomorrow’s round.”

Holmes had a 9-iron left on the 490-yard closing hole and made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe for a 6-under 66.

Michael Putnam of University Place had a 72 for a 2-under 214 and is tied for 45th. Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley (75) is tied for 67th at 4-over 220.

ELSEWHERE

Bernhard Langer shot a 4-under 68 for a three-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s Insperity Invitational at The Woodlands, Texas. Seattle’s Fred Couples had a 70 and is tied for sixth at 5-under 139.

Stacy Lewis shot a 2-under 69 even while missing several makable putts to grab a share of the lead with Meena Lee (70) at 9-under 204 after three rounds at the North Texas LPGA Shootout in Irving, Texas.

• Denmark’s Anders Hansen shot a 5-under 67 for a share of the lead at 16-under 200 with Thailand’s Panuphol Pittayarat (69) in The Championship at Laguna National in Singapore.