World No. 5 Phil Mickelson produced a typical swashbuckling effort to surge into contention with a nine-under-par 63 in the third round of the US$2.7 million Abu Dhabi Championship yesterday.
The five-time major winner blitzed his way to the turn in 31 strokes with four birdies, an eagle and one bogey.
Mickelson added five more birdies coming home, together with a dropped stroke at the 14th, to snatch the clubhouse lead with a 10-under total of 206.
The American’s final hole summed up his third-round performance at the European Tour event.
Mickelson found a bunker off the tee at the par-five 18th, before hitting his second shot into sandy waste.
With a palm tree in front of him, the 43-year-old Californian conjured a low, fading escape that scuttled up on to the green and he fist-pumped the air in delight when he rolled in his putt from 30 feet for a spectacular closing birdie.
“It probably wasn’t very sensible of me to try to go for the green, but hey, that’s what I do,” Mickelson told reporters.
Also on 10-under and still out on the course were world No. 7 Rory McIlroy, Briton Craig Lee and India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar.