‘Bor­ing’ is bet­ter as Mick­el­son shares lead

The Washington Post Sunday - - SKATING - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Phil Mick­el­son found the trick to play­ing the re­vamped South Course at Tor­rey Pines and left him­self one round away from win­ning on a course that once felt like home.

Go­ing against his na­ture, Mick­el­son played it safe again Satur­day and wound up with a 4-un­der-par 68 to share the lead with Bill Haas en­ter­ing the fi­nal round of the Farm­ers In­surance Open in San Diego. Haas missed a four-foot putt par putt on the last hole for a 71.

It has been 10 years since Mick­el­son won his third ti­tle at Tor­rey Pines, a pub­lic course he grew up play­ing in San Diego.

“I love play­ing well in this tour­na­ment, and I’ve missed it,” Mick­el­son said.

Tiger Woods, who has not lost a tour­na­ment at Tor­rey Pines since 2004, shot him­self out of the tour­na­ment with care­less mis­takes. Woods had a 2-over 74, end­ing his streak of 21 rounds at par or bet­ter on the South Course in PGA Tour events. He was eight shots be­hind, his largest 54-hole deficit at Tor­rey since 2004.

Haas is com­ing off a two-win sea­son in 2010, and lost in a play­off a week ago at the Bob Hope Clas­sic. He kept mak­ing enough birdies to keep in front of Mick­el­son, in­clud­ing a 25foot putt on the 15th, the tough­est on the course.

They were at 12-un­der 204.

Hunter Ma­han and Bubba Wat­son each made ea­gle on the par-5 18th to shoot 69 and were one shot be­hind. An­other shot back was An­thony Kim, show­ing signs of turn­ing around his game. Kim es­caped with a bo­gey on the 15th af­ter an ad­ven­ture through the eu­ca­lyp­tus trees, and birdied the 18th for a 71.

John Daly, who pulled within one shot of the lead early in the third round, fell apart with a string of bo­geys and shot 76.

Mick­el­son has taken ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to crit­i­cize the South Course since Rees Jones re­designed it ahead of the 2008 U.S. Open. Lefty has yet to fin­ish higher than fourth since then.

This time, Mick­el­son de­cided not to go for broke.

“I’m not tak­ing on the risk. I’m just play­ing it much more con­ser­va­tive be­cause the re­ward isn’t there,” he said. “ This course doesn’t re­ward you for tak­ing on any chal­lenge. And my more con­ser­va­tive ap­proach into the greens, al­beit bor­ing, has led me to be on top of the leader board.”

EURO­PEAN TOUR: Eng­land’s Paul Casey shot a 6-un­der 66 for a share of the third-round lead with Swe­den’s Peter Han­son at the Volvo Cham­pi­ons in Riffa, Bahrain.

Han­son shot a 67 to match Casey at 16-un­der 200 on The Royal Golf Club’s Mont­gomerie Course. North­ern Ire­land’s Dar­ren Clarke and James Kingston were a stroke back af­ter 67s.

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