Mickelson shoots 63, moves into 2nd place
The Associated Press
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Phil Mickelson surged up the leaderboard with a 9-under 63 to put himself in second place after the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, while Rory McIlroy was hit with a two-shot penalty for a rules infraction that dropped him into a tie for fourth.
Mickelson barely made the cut but had the best round of the day with nine birdies and an eagle coupled with two bogeys to sit two shots behind leader Craig Lee of Scotland. Lee shot a 69 for a 12-under 204 total.
“I just love the fact I am in contention and have an opportunity in my first tournament of the year here in Abu Dhabi,” Mickelson said. “The biggest thing for me is that each day as the tournament has progressed I have felt a lot sharper and sharper.”
McIlroy thought he was alone in second, a stroke behind Lee, after finishing his round. But tournament officials then ruled that he had taken a drop incorrectly on the second hole and adjusted his score to a double-bogey 7. That gave him a 70 for the round to sit a stroke behind Mickelson and Gaganjeet Bhullar of India (66).
McIlroy had to take relief on the second hole when his ball ended up on a gallery crosswalk and went on to par the hole, but was later told by the caddie of playing partner Ricardo Gonzalez that he had his left foot on the white line marking the drop area, meaning he had not taken “full relief” according to the rules.
Tournament officials reviewed the situation after McIlroy completed his round, with the golfer going back to the spot to show where he stood.
“I didn’t even know my foot was on the line,” McIlroy said. “... There’s a lot of stupid rules and this is one of them.”
Couples shares lead
HUALAILAI, Hawaii — Seattle native Fred Couples shot a second straight 7-under 65 to move into a share of the lead with Bernhard Langer after the second round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. Mark O’Meara is a shot back at 13 under.
Couples, 54, has two top-five finishes here the last four years. But even he doesn’t have any idea of how low he will have to go to win at a pristine Hualalai Course with barely any wind.
“The scores here are crazy every year,” Couples said. “To be honest, the only time I pay attention is Sunday when I’m done.”
• Another perfect day in La Quinta, Calif. Another 9-under 63 for Patrick Reed.
Reed broke the PGA Tour record for relation to par for the first 54 holes, finishing at 27 under to take a seven-stroke lead into the final round of the Humana Challenge.
Reed, 23, had eight birdies, an eagle and a bogey on PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus Private Course.
Reed broke the mark of 25 under set by four players.
Michael Putnam of University Place was tied for 70th at 9-under 207 after a 69 and just made the cut. Richard H. Lee (72), a former UW Husky, missed the cut.