PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Former Washington Husky Nick Taylor will take a one-stroke lead over Phil Mickelson into Sunday’s final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Taylor, also the leader after the first and second rounds, shot a 3-under-par 69 at demanding Spyglass Hill on Saturday and was at 17-under 198 through three rounds.
Mickelson put his spectacular short game on display and shot a 67 at Pebble Beach. Jason Day, who had a 70 at Spyglass, was in third place at 14 under.
Major-tournament winners Mickelson and Day are the only players who aren’t at least six shots behind Taylor.
Taylor, a 31-year-old Canadian who is ranked 229th in the world, is seeking his second PGA Tour victory; the first was in the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship in his fourth start as a Tour rookie.
Mickelson, meanwhile, will be going for a record sixth Pebble Beach title and his first Tour victory since he won this event last year.
Taylor and Mickelson, who have never played together, will be in Sunday’s final group.
“Obviously, if he makes a putt or great shot, the crowd’s going to go wild,” Taylor said. “I’ve just got to do my own thing, try to block all that out. Easier said than done, without having to do it before, but I’ll do the best I can.”
Taylor, who had two bogeys on his first four holes, wore a beanie to start and had hand warmers available because of heavy marine layer. He warmed up as the sun broke through and made a 25-foot eagle putt late in his round.
Crowd favorite Mickelson made the improbable look easy from a bunker behind the par-3 seventh green. He holed out from a bunker for a birdie on the 13th, and chipped in from 90 feet for a birdie on the next hole.
Mickelson started with a pair of birdies. He earned a share of the lead with a birdie on the par-5 sixth hole.
And then the fun began.
His wedge shot on the 110-yard seventh hole went long and plugged in the back bunker, seemingly an impossible spot because of the back pin and a fast green that slopes toward the front. He splashed out of the sand so perfectly that the ball took a few hops in the rough before reaching the green, slow enough to stop 2 feet away for a tap-in par.
Even for Mickelson, it rates among his best sand shots.
His 50-foot bunker shot on the tough eighth hole rolled inches from the cup.
More trouble supposedly awaited on the 13th hole when Mickelson’s approach peeled into the left bunker. He raised both arms when that shot dropped.
And on the par-5 14th, he made a mistake by not hitting his punch wedge hard enough. The ball rolled down the slope, off the green and back into the fairway. Mickelson’s chip from 90 feet banged into the pin and dropped for birdie.
Day, meanwhile, is a former world No. 1 who spent much of last year injured and frustrated. He has gone nearly two years since his last Tour victory and is ranked 46th in the world.