Phil Mickelson turned around his fortunes yet again at the closing stretch on Saturday, when four birdies in his last five holes brought him back into contention for the 96th PGA Championship.
In Friday’s second round, Mickelson had made an eagle on the 18th hole to finish with a 67.
The world No13, winner of five major titles, has not had a single top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this year, and needs a good finish this week to ensure automatic qualification for this year’s Ryder Cup.
He is 10th in the standings, with the top-nine at the end of this week making the team for Gleneagles.
Back-to-back bogeys on the 11th and 12th obliterated his two birdies on the front nine, but Mickelson caught fire on the back nine of his third round. He drained a 22-footer for birdie on the par-3 14th, and then hit his second to six feet on the next. On 16th, he hit his approach shot from 197 yards to three feet.
Another birdie on the 18th gave him a second successive 67.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger had taken the surprise lead in the clubhouse following a bogey-free round of six-under par 65. He is now 12-under par for the tournament.
Overnight leader Rory McIlroy was three-under par for the day after 16 holes and alongside Wiesberger with Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Ryan Palmer on 10-under par.
The latter two were out on the golf course when Wiesberger and Mickelson finished. Among the others who had finished their rounds, world No4 Henrik Stenson shot a 67 and was in contention going into the final day at nine-under par.
Earlier, McIlroy and Day set the tone with amazing par saves that had the gallery in raptures.
Day hooked his tee shot on the second so badly that it cleared Floyd’s Fork, the creek running down the left-hand side of the hole, and into deep grass on the far side.
After the ball was found, the 26-year-old Aussie proceeded to take his shoes off, crossed the creek, hacked out of the rough, pitched onto the green and holed a 12 footer.
Two holes later, it was McIlroy’s turn to wow. He pulled his drive into a hazard on the short par-four fourth. After taking a drop, McIlroy pitched to 11 feet and holed the putt.
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