Doral, Fla. Phil Mickelson wanted another chance to go head-to-head with Tiger Woods at Doral. Nick Watney gave Lefty all he could handle Saturday in the CA Championship.
Mickelson hit his stride on the back nine of the Blue Monster with three straight birdies and wound up with a 3-under 69. That still wasn’t enough to shake Watney, who finished off a 67 with a tough par save on the 18th hole to share the 54-hole lead.
They were at 16-under 200, with no one else closer than four shots.
Mickelson had birdie putts inside 12 feet on eight consecutive holes — including a tee shot on the par-3 13th that rolled against the flag stick and stopped a foot away — until a wild tee shot on the 17th hole led to bogey.
Watney, who won at Torrey Pines a month ago, stayed in the game with two good bunker saves and a delicate chip to 3 feet after flirting with the water on the 18th hole.
Woods was thrilled with how he hit the ball, disgusted with his putting, and had to settle for a 68 that left him nine shots behind.
“The best I’ve hit it in a long time,” Woods said. “Granted, I haven’t played in a long time, but still.”
Jeev Milkha Singh (68) and Camilo Villegas (69) were tied for third at 12-under 204, and the group another shot behind included Jim Furyk (69), Kenny Perry (71) and Alvaro Quiros, the big-hitting Spaniard who had a 69.