Phil Mickelson goes low, Tiger Woods does not at TPC [Updated]
Phil Mickelson took advantage of an early start to be one of the big movers on Saturday during the third round of The Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Mickelson, who can claim the No. 1 ranking in the world this weekend with a victory and Tiger Woods finishing no better than sixth, shot a 66 to close within five shots of leader Lee Westwood, who shot a three-under 69 and three-round total of 202 to keep a one-shot lead over Robert Allenby heading into the final round.
Woods will have problems getting onto the leaderboard after a third-round 71 that featured a handful of bogeys to go with his birdies.
Mickelson fired a five-under 31 on the front nine and was two under on the back before flying the 18th green with his approach and settling for his only bogey of the day. Woods also struggled at the finish, failing to make a birdie putt at No. 16 before going bogey-bogey at Nos. 17 and 18.
Said Mickelson of his round: "I feel like things started to click a little bit today, and I think I've got one more low round in me. I just hope that it will be enough, that I'll be within striking distance."
Mickelson wasn't the only player going low today. Former Masters champion Zach Johnson had a 67 and joined Mickelson at nine-under 207. Fred Funk, the 53-year-old in his final year of exemption from his 2005 victory in The Players Championship, had a 66 in the first pairing of the day and was at 208.
Also challenging for the lead at 204 were U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, the only player in the top 10 with a major after a 69, along with Torrey Pines winner Ben Crane (68) and Francesco Molinari of Italy, who had a 71.
Woods said he felt on the verge of breaking through."I had it going for a little bit," he said. "I thought if I could have birdied 16 and 17, I'd have been right back in the tournament."
-- Dan Loumena
Associated Press contributed to this report
Photo: Phil Mickelson reacts after just missing a chip for eagle at No. 16 on Saturday at TPC Sawgrass. Credit: Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press