CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billy Mayfair has a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Quail Hollow Championship, a position that seemed unlikely when he was racing to the golf course to make his tee time for a Monday qualifier.
Finishing off an amazing week with his first victory in 12 years might be just as difficult.
Mayfair never lost the lead during a mad scramble to catch him Saturday, finishing with two strong pars for 1-under 71 that gave him 9-under 207 and a lead over Masters champion Phil Mickelson and Carolina favorite Davis Love.
"(Saturday) was a real test for me," Mayfair, 43, said. "I kept it going for 18 holes and still have the lead going into tomorrow."
Mayfair lost his PGA Tour card after the worst season of his career. He got into Quail Hollow only because of a Monday qualifier that he almost missed. He was late arriving in Charlotte, raced to the course to make his tee time, then shot 65, his best score of the year.
All that's left is to hold off Mickelson, Love and a collection of players who have won far more recently than Mayfair.
"I've got to put it out of my mind," he said. "I've got to use my 21 years of experiences out here, and I've got to say, 'You know what? I've been out here.' "
Mickelson, in his first start since winning a third green jacket, overcame food poisoning at the start of the week and a few errant shots to put himself in contention. He has never won in his first start after the Masters.
LPGA: Ai Miyazato handled the gusting, canyon-blown wind better than her two long-hitting playing partners.
Miyazato moved into position for her third victory of the season, shooting 2-under 71 to take a one-stroke lead over Michelle Wie and Seminole's Brittany Lincicome in the Tres Marias Championship in Morelia, Mexico.
"I like to play in the wind because I grew up in a windy place," said Miyazato, raised in Higashison on the Japanese island of Okinawa. "It's still tough playing in the wind for me, but I have a good image in my head even if I am playing in tough, windy conditions."
The winner of the season-opening events in Thailand and Singapore, Miyazato was at 13-under 206. Wie, a stroke ahead after two rounds, shot 73, and Lincicome had 72.
CHAMPIONS: David Frost matched the course record with 6-under 66 in windy conditions to join Brad Bryant and David Eger atop the inaugural Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in Saucier. Bryant took a one-stroke lead into the final hole but closed with a bogey for his second straight 68. Eger also shot 68 to match Frost and Bryant at 8-under 136 on the Fallen Oak Golf Club course.