Phil Mickelson didn’t get off to a blistering start and never made a run at the course record like some of his competitors.
But at the end of the round, they’re all looking up at the world's second-ranked player atop the leaderboard.
Mickelson birdied six of the final 10 holes to finish with a 5-under 65 on Saturday in the third round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and heads into the final round with a one-shot lead over Rod Pampling and Stephen Ames.
Mickelson started the day where he finished, alone in first place.
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But he but bogeyed the second hole and was even for his round through eight holes.
Then he made five birdies during a stretch of holes starting with No. 9 and ending with No. 15, with a bogey mixed in at No. 12 to pull even with Pampling and Ames at 11-under. He took the lead with the final putt of the third round, draining a 17-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.
At one point, Pampling was making a run at the course record in his third round on Saturday. The Flower Mound resident had gotten to 8-under for the day and 12-under for the tournament with his birdie on No. 14.
But bogies on No. 16 and No. 17 kept the record safe. He did rebound with a birdie on the final hole to shoot a 7-under 63 for the round, which ties the lowest round of the tournament.
The course record is a 9-under 61, which has been shot six times, most recently by Chad Campbell in 2004.
Ames, who has a third place and a fourth place finish at the Colonial, was steady from start to finish and played a bogey-free round. He shot 3-under on the front nine and 3-under on the back nine to finish with a 6-under 64.
For awhile, Tim Clark looked like he might make a run at the course record. He birdied No. 11, No. 12 and No. 13 to move to 6-under for the day and 9-under for the tournament. But finished with five straight pars for a 64 on the day and he sits alone in fourth place.
“I’m a couple shots back ... which is OK,” Clark said. “It’ll be nice to go out without all the expectations. I think it’ll take a low score to win tomorrow because I don’t think the guys will back up any.”
Brian Gay also got off to a strong star as he was birdied four of the first seven holes to take over the top spot on the leaderboard at 10-under.
But he bogeyed No. 9 and was 2-over on the back nine to fall to 7-under for the tournament and is tied with Ben Crane and Kevin Sutherland for fifth place, four shots behind the leaders.
Overall, it was a day of low scores as 13 golfers shot 4-under or better for the third round.