CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Phil Mickelson won’t be playing in the final pairing Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship despite his bold charge in the third round, and that’s just fine with him.
That’s because Mickelson knows his history at Quail Hollow Golf Club. He knows how much it favors chasers and that’s what he will be after shooting 9-under-par 63 Saturday.
J.B. Holmes leads going into Sunday’s final round. He’s a shot ahead of Martin Flores and two ahead of Mickelson.
No 54-hole leader has won this tournament since 2008, when Anthony Kim held off every challenger.
“Historically here, the winner has not come from the last group, but from a few groups before,” Mickelson said. “When you know that you're out in front of the leaders, and you have a chance to kind of light up the board first, that's an opportunity, and guys have typically done that here and won. It’s been tougher to follow suit, seeing those guys in front make birdies.”
Last year, Mickelson held the 54-hole lead, but he was overtaken. Derek Ernst, who came from a tie for fourth place, two shots back of Mickelson, beat David Lynn in a playoff.
Holmes will go off Sunday in the final pairing with Martin Flores.
Mickelson and Kevin Kisner will be the second-to-last pairing off.
Here’s a look at how the chasers have won the last five years here:
2013: Ernst trailed Mickelson by two shots but closed with a 70 to Mickelson’s 73 to win. Lynn tied Ernst but lost on the first extra hole of their playoff.
2012: Rickie Fowler was in sixth place, three shots behind Webb Simpson going into the final round. He shot 69 and then beat Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff to win.
2011: Lucas Glover was in the second-to-last pairing off, trailing Jonathan Byrd by three shots. Glover closed with a 69, then beat Byrd in a playoff.
2010: Rory McIlroy was six shots behind Billy Mayfair going into the final round and won closing with a 62.
2009: Sean O’Hair was tied for fifth, three shots behind Zach Johnson, and closed with a 69 to win.