GFC Search


Mickelson, Watney share 54-hole lead at Quail Hollow


Another day of calm conditions faced the field at Quail Hollow Club, where a number of players were able to fire low numbers Saturday. Here's the skinny heading into the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship, where an eventful final few holes left Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney tied atop the leaderboard:

The leaderboard: Nick Watney (-8), Phil Mickelson (-8), George McNeill (-7), Lee Westwood (-6), David Lynn (-6), John Senden (-6), Ryan Moore (-6)

What it means: Though Mickelson appeared in control for much of the round Saturday, he fell back after a double bogey on the par-5 15th hole that was followed by a bogey on No. 16. This allowed Watney to move to the top of the leaderboard despite a double bogey on the 17th hole, and now the pair will enter the final round tied at the top, with a large contingent of contenders within two shots of their lead.

Round of the day: Senden began the day eight shots off the pace, but thanks to a 5-under 67 Saturday he will begin the final round inside the top 10. The Aussie started strong, with four birdies across his first eight holes, and played the inward nine in 1-under 35. The round allowed Senden, who hasn’t recorded a top-10 finish on Tour since last year’s U.S. Open, to ascend 31 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for fourth at 6 under.

Best of the rest: Like Senden, Moore began his third round with a flurry of birdies. The two-time PGA Tour champion, who tied for fifth at Quail Hollow a year ago, birdied each of the first three holes and five of his first seven Saturday. Moore, who began the week with a bogey-free 67 Thursday, made one of the biggest moves up the leaderboard during the early afternoon and will now head into Sunday’s final round at 6 under, tied for fourth and just two shots behind Watney and Mickelson.

Biggest disappointment: While Rory McIlroy was celebrating his 24th birthday Saturday, his putting woes put a damper on any festivities. The Ulsterman entered the third round within three shots of Mickelson, but struggled mightily on the Quail Hollow greens during the third round. McIlroy missed eight putts from inside 7 feet Saturday, including two from within 3 feet, and while many of the contenders were carding sub-par rounds, the reigning PGA champion dropped back into a tie for 10th after a 1-over 73.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: After both players struggled down the stretch Saturday, who will have the edge between Watney and Mickelson? Both have a strong history in Charlotte, but with tee times moved up because of inclement weather on the horizon, conditions could level the playing field. As 19 players begin the final round within four shots of the lead, the co-leaders will likely face several challenges from a pack of contenders that includes Westwood, McIlroy and Sergio Garcia.

Shot of the day: The third round got off to a rough start for Gary Woodland, but it ended in impressive fashion. The former University of Kansas standout struggled to a 5-over 41 on the front nine, including a triple bogey on the par-5 seventh hole. He rebounded on the back nine, though, and his drive on the difficult 18th hole found the fairway. From there, Woodland’s approach from 161 yards landed just short of the pin and rolled in for an improbable eagle 2, leaving him tied for 47th after a roller-coaster round of 74.

Quote of the day: 'I haven't done that for a while. It's a terrible feeling, and once you get in there, your head starts racing. I hope it doesn't happen again, ever.' – Watney, who made a double bogey on the par-3 17th after shanking his tee shot nearly 50 yards right of the green.