CHARLOTTE: Reigning British Open champion Phil Mickelson charged into contention but it was J.B. Holmes who grabbed the lead after Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) third round of the US PGA Wells Fargo Championship.
World number nine Mickelson, a five-time major champion, fired a nine-under par 63, one shot off the course record at Quail Hollow, to stand third on 11-under 205 after 54 holes.
“This was a really good day from start to finish,” Mickelson said. “I drove the ball well, my irons were solid, my short game was on and I made a lot of putts.”
Mickelson’s front-nine 29 was the lowest start in tournament history.
Holmes sank a 21-foot chip shot at the 18th hole to cap a round of 66 and take the lead on 203 with Martin Flores, seeking his first PGA title, taking a bogey at 18 to stand second on 204.
“It has been clicking this week,” Holmes said. “The last few weeks I have been driving the ball great. I’m hitting my irons well and putting well too.”
Holmes, who had been playing on a medical exemption, won enough money last month to secure his spot on tour for the remainder of the year.
Holmes, who has battled back following brain surgery in 2011, birdied the par-3 second and par-5 fifth, and added birdies at seven and eight before closing the front nine with a bogey. He answered with birdies at the par-5 10th and 15th and closed the a flourish for the lead.