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Mickelson moves into contention with 7-under 64

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Phil Mickelson recorded his lowest score to par on the PGA Tour in almost two years on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Mickelson carded five birdies and an eagle to shoot a bogey-free 64 that vaulted him onto the first page of the leaderboard at Quail Hollow at 5 under par.

His 7-under total was his lowest score to par in a round since he opened with 8-under 63 in the first round of the 2016 Open Championship.

It’s a marked improvement from the consecutive rounds of 72 he turned in Thursday and Friday to make the 2-over cut on the number.

“I don't know what the difference was. I just felt very unfocused the first two days,” Mickelson said. “I didn't feel like I was really committed to shots, I didn't feel like I was really great – I didn't have great focus. I don't know how else to say it.

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“Today I came out, I felt way better on the range. I knew I was going to have a good day and I thought a good day would be 4-5 under. I made an eagle on No. 10 and that really kind of propelled the rest of the round.”

Mickelson has struggled with his focus in the past. Last September, he told reporters he met with a doctor to improve both his energy and focus on the course, although he declined to specify exactly what the issues were.

Whatever it was, Mickelson has certainly proven rejuvenated this season, with five top-10s, including a third, a runner-up, and his first victory in nearly five years, at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Mickelson’s 64 was the second-best score of the early wave, trailing only Peter Uihlein’s 62, as benign conditions and an easier setup made Quail Hollow a much friendlier golf course than it was the first two days.

“I don't think they'll go real low, but I think that they could shoot 3, 4, 5 under par pretty easily,” Mickelson said, referencing the leaders. “I think I will be within striking distance, but where I was just making the cut, it's a pretty good spot to be in.”