‘Boring’ is better as Mickelson shares lead
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.