DULUTH, GA. Things are going so well for Phil Mickelson in the BellSouth Classic that he embraced his first adversity in the tournament as yet another positive.
Mickelson was on pace to challenge the lowest 54-hole total in PGA Tour history before he lost three strokes on his last three holes Saturday, forcing him to settle for a 5-under 67 and an eight-stroke lead at 21-under 195.
A double bogey on 18, where he twice found water, was his worst hole of three rounds. He finished four strokes off the best 54-hole total on a par-72 course in PGA Tour history - Gay Brewer's 25-under 191 in the 1967 Pensacola Open.
Thanks in part to the bogey on 16 and double bogey on 18 Saturday, Mickelson says he can focus on his game instead of worrying about chasing the best 72-hole total on a par-72 course in PGA Tour history - 29-under 259 by Joe Durant in the 90-hole Bob Hope Classic in 2001, matched by Tim Herron in the same tournament in 2003.
Jonathan Byrd and 2004 winner Zach Johnson were tied for second at 203. Jose Maria Olazabal was fourth at 12 under 204.