|Phil Mickelson, watching his approach on 12, had three bogeys on the back nine to keep him from running away. (REUTERS)|
Mickelson forges one-shot lead in Nissan
Harrington starts final round 1 back
Phil Mickelson looked unbeatable until a 30-inch putt spun around the rim of the cup, giving him the first of three bogeys on the back nine that cost him a cushion, but ultimately not the lead, in the Nissan Open yesterday at Los Angeles.
Mickelson got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 17th and shot 2-under-par 69 in the steamy sunshine at Riviera, giving him a one-shot lead over Padraig Harrington (70) as he tries to win for the second straight week.
"I was tied for the lead Friday. I've got a one-shot lead today. So, it's getting better," said Mickelson, who was at 13-under 200. "It wasn't the lead I wanted, but it's getting better."
Mickelson will be in the final group with Harrington and Rich Beem, who delivered the theatrics by making a hole-in-one on the 14th hole that sent him leaping atop the red sports car he won for his ace. More than getting a new car, Beem suddenly has a chance at his first title since the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.
Beem shot the best round of the day, a 65, and was only two shots behind.
Former Nissan Open champion Robert Allenby (68) and Charles Howell (69) were another shot behind, setting up a typical final round off Sunset Boulevard in which several players have a chance.
That's due to Mickelson, who one minute looked as though he might run away from the field, and in a span of five holes came charging right back with a couple of missed putts and one wild swing on the par-3 16th.
"Myself and Phil basically brought a lot of people back into the tournament," Harrington said. "Whoever plays the best tomorrow will probably win the tournament. But it's a half-dozen guys instead of two."
Indeed, a half-dozen players were right behind them, which includes Ernie Els (67), Jim Furyk (67), and Sergio Garcia (69) only four shots behind at 9 under. LPGA -- Paula Creamer won the season-opening SBS Open at Kahuku, Hawaii, for her first victory since 2005, handling the whipping wind to hold off Julieta Granada by a stroke.
The 20-year-old Creamer closed with a 2-under 70 for a 9-under 207 total and earned $165,000 for her third Tour title.
Granada, who won the season-ending ADT Championship, shot a 69.
Karrie Webb closed with a 70 to finish third at 6 under.
Champions -- Andy Bean shot a 4-under 67 in cold and windy conditions for a share of the lead with Wayne Levi in the suspended second round of the
Levi shot a 69, finishing in near-darkness, to match Bean at 4-under 138 on the TPC Tampa Bay. Levi holed a pitching wedge from 118 yards for eagle on the par-4 10th, his first hole of the day. The ball bounced once, skipped, then spun back in.
First-round leader David Eger (72) was a stroke back, and Tom Wargo (72) followed at 2 under.
European -- Frankie Minoza topped the leaderboard at 8 under with a hole to play in the third round of the Indonesian Open in Jakarta before monsoon storms stopped play for the third consecutive day.
Nationwide -- Scott Sterling and David Lutterus shot 6-under 66s and Peter Senior had a 68 to share a one-stroke lead going into the final round of the Jacob's Creek Open in Adelaide, Australia. The three are at 11-under 205.