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Mickelson's 63 puts him in hunt at PGA's Wells Fargo

Phil Mickelson shoots 9-under 63, his best round of the year, to move within two of the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship.

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Phil Mickelson shoots 9-under 63, his best round of the year, to move within two of the lead at the Wells Fargo Championship.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Even with his best round of the year, Phil Mickelson knew it wouldn't be enough for him to stay in the lead Saturday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

That was okay with Lefty.

All he wanted was a chance at Quail Hollow, and Mickelson hasn't had a better chance to win all year.

He roared into contention by playing a six-hole stretch in 7 under on the front nine and keeping bogeys off his card with a wedge that danced around the cup on the 18th for 9-under 63.

He was leading when he finished and wound up two shots behind J.B. Holmes, who overtook Martin Flores for the lead on the last hole.

"I don't think I'll be leading at the end of the day because I think there are some birdies out there," Mickelson said. "But just to be in contention, and to have a chance at a golf course that I've become so close to over the years, I'm excited about (today's) round."

Holmes, pounding tee shots and gaining confidence along the way, had a 9-iron left on the 490-yard closing hole and made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe. That gave him 6-under 66 for 13-under 203, and it made him the outright leader when Flores made his only big mistake of the round. Flores pulled his tee shot into the stream that winds along the left side of the 18th fairway. He at least gave himself a chance to save par but missed a 20-foot putt and had to settle for 69.

Holmes goes into the final round with a shot at coming back from injuries, one of them far more noteworthy than the others. He had brain surgery in 2011 to remove a piece of his skull. Then he broke his ankle in 2013 and the time off allowed him to have surgery on his left elbow.

"I've worked really hard to get there, and it would be a great accomplishment to come back and get a win in the bag," Holmes said.

Kevin Kisner had 68 and was three shots behind. Justin Rose bogeyed his last hole for 71 and was four back, along with Jason Bohn.

LPGA: Stacy Lewis shot 2-under 69, even while missing several makeable putts, to grab a share of the lead with Meena Lee after three rounds at the North Texas Shootout in Irving. Lewis, the third-ranked player in the world, looked down in frustration after missing a birdie chance at 18th hole. The Texan matched Lee (70) at 9-under 204. Caroline Masson, who shared the second-round lead with Lee, followed consecutive 67s with 75. Suzann Pettersen, Dori Carter and Julieta Granada shot 68 and were a stroke behind the leaders. Cristie Kerr (69), Christina Kim (70) and Natalie Gulbis (71) were among seven players tied at 7 under, two strokes off the lead.

Champions: Bernhard Langer shot 4-under 68 to open a three-stroke lead in the Insperity Invitational at the Woodlands, Texas. He was at 10-under 134. Colin Montgomerie was second after shooting 66, the best round of the day that included an eagle on the par-5 13th. In his second year on tour, Montgomerie's best finish is second in March at Newport Beach, Calif. Montgomerie is hoping to get the upper hand over "good friend" Langer when they're grouped together today. "I've been trying all bloody year to do it, and I've not done it yet," he said.

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Mickelson's 63 puts him in hunt at PGA's Wells Fargo 05/03/14 [Last modified: Saturday, May 3, 2014 10:35pm]
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