For Mickelson - and many golfers in the field - solving the greens Saturday just wasn't easy.
'The greens are receptive, they're rolling true,' the Masters champion said. 'I just can't read them.'
Several golfers said the greens looked fast but weren't as firm as they would have expected after nothing but sunshine all week. Tiger Woods, who shot 3-over 75, called it 'mental warfare.'
'They've got that little shine to them like they should be a lot faster, but they're putting slow,' Woods said. 'What your eyes are showing you and what's actually going on on the golf course is two different things.'
Mickelson needed 31 putts to get through the third round, and said a player would have to play 40-50 rounds at Quail Hollow before understanding the breaks on the greens.
'Every putt is a double-breaking putt,' he said. 'There's not a consistent pitch to any of them.'
Woods, who needed just 22 putts Friday, had 28 in the third round.
Even players that seemed to have a handle on the greens had their shaky moments. Arron Oberholser, who fired a 68 Saturday and was atop the leaderboard at 11 under, three-putted No. 18 to close with a bogey.
Davis Love III shared the lead at 8 under after 10 holes Saturday, but had 14 putts on his last eight holes - including a three-putt on No. 16 - to close at 5 under.
'I would have expected (the greens) to be as hard as my head by today and even harder tomorrow,' said Joey Sindelar, tied for fifth at 8 under. 'But it hasn't happened yet.'
Sindelar's Big Stretch
Sindelar entered the day at 6 under and is just three shots back heading into Sunday's final round. His third-round 70 was another solid showing here for the 46-year-old, who hasn't won a tour event since the 1990 Hardee's Golf Classic.
Playing with Vijay Singh, Sindelar birdied Nos. 8, 9 and 10 to keep himself in contention. He earned the birdie on No. 9 with a 45-foot putt, then shrugged his shoulders to the cheering crowd.
Last year, Sindelar finished 92nd on the money list.
'That was a lot of fun,' he said of the three-hole stretch. 'That's what I'm doing this week that I haven't done this year. You start making a couple of putts outside of 10 feet - a couple of putts you're not supposed to make - and all of a sudden it gets easier.'
Fredrik Jacobson withdrew from the Wachovia Championship after opening with a 66 when he learned his wife, Erika, had gone into labor about three weeks early.
Jacobson raced home to Jupiter, Fla., but arrived about an hour late.
The good news?
She gave birth to a girl at 5:16 a.m. Friday, weighing in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces and 18 1/2 inches long. They had not decided on a name by Saturday.
Earlier this week, the zany Swede was asked whether he was hoping for a boy or a girl.
'We're hoping for a human,' he said.
Carolina Panthers coach John Fox took some time to enjoy the offseason by attending Saturday's play.
'This is the time of year I get to enjoy my family,' Fox told CBS. 'My wife and children love to get out here.'
Fox has had a busy few weeks, beginning with the NFL draft in late April. The Panthers completed their three-day rookie minicamp last week, their first return to the field since the 32-29 loss to New England in the Super Bowl.
The Panthers return to practice next month.
Oberholser is the only player to shoot in the 60s all three rounds. ... Robert Allenby was in the thick of the tournament, at 7 under par with three holes to play. But he three-putted from 15 feet on the fringe for double bogey, muffed a chip and made double bogey on No. 17 and three-putted the 18th for bogey, turning a 69 into a 74. ... Despite a three-putt bogey on the 18th for a 72, Mickelson extended his streak to 19 rounds at par or better.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.