Golf: Mickelson grabs Pebble Beach lead

Phil Mickelson chips onto the third green during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Phil Mickelson chips onto the third green during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • American Phil Mickelson was poised to strike for a record-tying fifth Pebble Beach Pro Am crown after seizing a two-shot lead on Saturday with a third-round 66.

His six-under effort on the Pebble Beach Golf Links - one of three courses in use over the first three rounds of the United States PGA Tour event - gave him a 54-hole total of 16-under 199.

"I fought hard today," the 45-year-old and five-time Major winner, who has not won a US tour title since lifting the 2013 British Open trophy, told the Golf Channel.

"The golf course was playing much more difficult with the firm greens and the wind picking up. There were a lot of holes I just had to fight for pars."

As he was eyeing his chance to match Mark O'Meara's record of five Pebble Beach titles, reigning Masters and US Open champion Jordan Spieth was just happy to be hanging around for the final round.

The world No. 1 looked out of sorts all day en route to a two-over 74 at Pebble Beach for a one-under total of 214, just making the cut.

"What a really nice up and down to be able to play on Sunday," said Spieth, who arrived at the 18th right on the projected cut line and drove into the rough.

With a tree in play, he had to hit out to the fairway, but finished with a three-footer for par.

"I had a bad attitude that first nine," admitted the Texan, adding he did not adapt well to difficult, windy conditions.

A solid iron shot at the eighth, where he made par after his second bogey of the day at the seventh hole, helped get him on the right track.

But Spieth, who finished second by one shot to South Korean Song Young Han in his last outing at the SMBC Singapore Open last month, was never able to mount a charge and finished the day with three bogeys and one birdie - no birdies on the back nine.

Mickelson's closest pursuer was Japanese veteran Hiroshi Iwata, who carded a three-under 69 on the par-72 Spyglass Hill course for 201.

Iwata, who shared the overnight lead with South Korea's Kang Sung Hoon, shook off a bogey at his opening hole, the 10th, firing six birdies with three bogeys.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2016, with the headline 'Mickelson grabs Pebble Beach lead'. Print Edition | Subscribe