Mon, Feb 12, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Mickelson shares the lead at Pebble Beach tournament

AFP , PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Phil Mickelson chips out of a sand trap at the Spy Glass Hill course during the third round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament in Pebble Beach, California, on Saturday.

PHOTO: EPA

Reigning Masters champion Phil Mickelson fired a two-under par 70 on Saturday and clung to a share of the lead after 54 holes at the US$5.5 million US PGA Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Mickelson played the front nine at par on Spyglass Hill, hardest of three courses being used for the opening rounds, before birdies at the par-5 11th and par-4 17th kept him even with Kevin Sutherland in the lead at 14-under par 202.

Sutherland fired a bogey-free five-under par 67 at Poppy Hills to grab a place in the final twosome for yesterday's final round.

John Mallinger of the US was third on 203 with another four strokes back to fourth-place compatriots Davis Love and Corey Pavin.

Jim Furyk, who shared the lead with Mickelson when the round began, struggled to a 76 to tumble into a share of sixth on 208 with fellow Americans Jeff Overton, Craig Kanada and Steve Flesch.

Rain and wind picked up throughout the day, and the forecast was for more of the same yesterday.

"The key if the weather gets bad is to drive the ball well," said Mickelson, who has hit 32 of 41 fairways. "You have to put the ball in play because from the rough or bunkers you are just fighting for par the whole time."

Two days ago Sutherland was mired in a tie for 58th , but rounds of 63 and 67 have him poised to strike for his second tour victory.

It is the second time in three weeks he is in a final group. He was in the final group at the Buick Invitational and finished tied for 14th.

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