Not so in 2001.
Mickelson fired a career-best 9-under-par 61 to take the lead into the final round of the Canon Greater Hartford Open.
Check out Phil Mickelson's sizzling round of 61!
At 14-under, Mickelson leads David Berganio, Jr., by 1 shot in Cromwell, Conn. Berganio shot 64 in the third round to move to 13-under-par. Chris DiMarco (66) is in third place at 12-under. Billy Andrade (66) is the next nearest competitor at 11-under.
Prior to 2001, Mickelson won 11 of 12 PGA Tour events in which he held at least a share of the 54-hole lead. However, this season the lefty is 0 for 3.
Mickelson shared the third-round lead at Pebble Beach, shot a final-round 73 and tied for third. He led by three in New Orleans, shot a Sunday 72 and finished second. And at the Colonial, he was tied for the top spot through 54 holes only to shoot 70 and tie for second.
Mickelson has an astounding eight top-3s on the PGA Tour this year, but only one win ' the Buick Invitational. Mickelson trailed by one through three rounds in San Diego, shot 66 on Sunday to force a playoff, and then beat Frank Lickliter on the third extra hole with a double bogey.
The 31-year-old winner of 18 Tour titles started the third round at the TPC at River Highlands just three shots off the lead, held by a record eight players.
Upon making the turn in 3-under 32, Mickelson birdied the par-3 12th and then took sole possession of the lead on the next hole.
Perhaps the most aggressive player on tour, Mickelson flew a 3-wood over a water hazard and onto the green at the par-5 13th. He rolled in the 12-foot eagle putt to move to 11-under.
An eight-foot birdie at the 15th gave him a three-shot advantage, which quickly grew to four following a 20-footer at the 16th.
Mickelsons 60th shot of the day was an L-wedge from 99 yards that spun to within six feet of the hole at the par-4 18th. Shot No. 61 tied the course record.
I felt like heading into the week that Thursday and Friday were going to be the difficult days, said Mickelson. I had a good practice session this morning and felt good. I didnt expect to shoot 9-under, but Im very happy with my round.
Berganio has yet to win on tour, but has had a fairly successful 2001 season. He opened in 64 to lead the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am; though he failed to break 70 over the next three rounds and tied for 20th.
His best showing of the year came in the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic where he tied for 4th.
Berganio earned a spot in Sundays final pairing by making a late run on Saturday. After hitting the green in two at the par-5 13th, he two-putted for birdie. The 32-year-old Californian then birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to get within one of his old college rival.
Yeah, we played a lot of college golf together, but I havent played much with him over the last seven, eight years. Ive just been watching him, said the former Arizona Wildcat of his Arizona State counterpart.
Full-field scores from the Canon Greater Hartford Open