Mickelson tied for Quail Hollow lead

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 01, 2013
Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney wound up tied for the lead in the Wells Fargo Championship, minus the separation from the rest of the field on Saturday. Mickelson hit a shot out of bounds on the 15th hole and hit another shot that struck a spectator in the head, costing him three shots over the last four holes at Quail Hollow in his round of 1-over 73. Watney hit a semi-shank with a 6-iron on the par-3 17th, took double bogey and had to settle for a 71. It felt like a small consolation that they were tied at 8-under 208, one shot ahead of George McNeill, who had his share of trouble for a 72. ''I can't remember the last time I did that in a tournament, so it was a bit unsettling,'' Watney said about his shank. ''The big picture? I'm tied for the lead, and I would have taken that on Thursday morning.'' Instead of pulling away from the pack, their mistakes in a wild final hour allowed a dozen players to get within three shots of the lead. One of them was Rory McIlroy, who shot 73 and missed seven putts from the 5-foot range or closer, which was no way to celebrate his 24th birthday. McIlroy ranked 82nd out of the 83 players who made the 36-hole cut in the key putting statistic, yet he still goes into the final round with a good chance for his first win of the year. But it's a crowded race. John Senden completed his round of 67 some three hours before the leaders finished. Ryan Moore was right behind him with a 68. They were among six players who were tied for fourth, two shots behind. That group included Lee Westwood, who made two birdies and two bogeys in his otherwise boring round of 72. ''It's tough to run away on this golf course,'' Westwood said. ''I think the greens are dictating that with a pretty good bunch. Nobody's going to get streaky and shoot a 62, I don't think. It will be a case of playing solid tomorrow and giving yourself chances and taking opportunities when you can.'' The starting time for Sunday has been moved up because of rain in the forecast, with the final round starting at 6:45 a.m. McIlroy didn't need to be reminded that it was his birthday. Fans serenaded or shouted to him on just about every hole. If all he wanted was to make some putts, Boy Wonder didn't get his wish. At times, it became a cruel joke. He stuffed his shot into just inside 3 feet on the third hole and missed the birdie, and that was just the start of it. He missed another putt inside 3 feet that gave him a double bogey on the ninth hole. Add it up and McIlroy missed seven putts from the 5-foot range, along with a 7-foot putt on the eighth. After all that, he's still in the mix. McIlroy, Westwood and more than a dozen have Mickelson and Watney to thank for that. Right when it looked as though it might be a two-man race, perhaps another duel like they once had at Doral, their blunders opened up Sunday for a slew of others. Mickelson, 11 under after his 10-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole, pulled his tee shot on the par-5 15th well right of the fairway, just above a cart path. Lefty decided to go for the green by trying to smash his ''Phrankenwood'' driver with a hard fade around the trees and back toward the green. Only it didn't fade, and instead went out-of-bounds. Mickelson tried it again, this time the way he imagined, and it left him just short of the green. But he failed to get up-and-down and took double bogey to fall one shot behind. If that wasn't enough, he hooked his approach from a slightly downhill lie in the fairway. The ball struck a spectator in the head and bounded down the hill toward where the old 17th tee used to be located. It took Mickelson two chips to reach the green, leading to another bogey. Just like that, he went from one shot ahead to two shots behind - but not for long. In the group ahead of him, Watney faced about a 20-minute wait on the tee at the par-3 17th. When it was his turn to hit, Watney hit a semi-shank toward a hospitality tent that left nearly 80 yards short on the 207-yard hole. His next shot barely reached the green, and he three-putted for a double bogey. Asked if he was more embarrassed or angry, Watney said, ''A bit of both.'' ''It just so happened that I'm playing really well and it was on TV, so that's where the embarrassment comes from,'' he said. ''But the other thing is you like to put as much distance as you can between you and the other guys, so a bit of anger and definitely some embarrassment.'' He tugged his cap over his face on the 18th green and shouted, not willing to share exactly what he said. ''If I have any chance of playing well tomorrow, I'm going to need to get past it and come out ready to go or else I'm going to get run over,'' Watney said. ''I'm looking forward to tomorrow.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

Golf News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker