• Waste Management Phoenix Open, Round Three

Mickelson powers on as Padraig gives chase

ESPN staff
February 2, 2013
Phil Mickelson produced some amazing play once again in Phoenix © Getty Images

Waste Management Phoenix Open leaderboard

Phil Mickelson's surge towards victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open continued with a superb round of 64 to leave him six clear of the field.

Mickelson, who won the event in 1996 and again in 2005, came into the week short on form. However, armed with a new driver he demolished the course with a 60 on Thursday and continued the form over the following two days.

He opened his round by draining a 20-foot birdie putt on the first and although he was a little wayward on occasions, notably when putting his drive on the 18th into the hospitality area, he had enough quality to pull away when challenged.

A par on 12 saw the rest of the field close to within three shots, but he came up with birdies on 13 and 15. He stepped into 'the cage', the famous par-three 16th, and he wowed the crowd by putting his nine-iron tee shot to three feet for a birdie.

He stroked in birdies at 17 and 18, with the latter greeted with a fist pump to secure the 54-hole tournament record of 24-under 189.

Brandt Snedeker, who chased home Tiger Woods last week, is the man in pursuit of Mickelson as he surged to 18-under thanks to a round of 65.

Provided officials send the field out in three balls on Sunday, Padraig Harrington will be in the final group after powering his way into contention with a blistering round of 63.

The Irishman has been striving for consistency for a couple of years, but the majority of his game was in sync on Saturday at TPC Scottsdale. He drove the ball superbly, which gave him the chance to fire at pins.

Harrington lit the blue touch paper early, as he birdied four of his first five holes and chipped in for a birdie on eight to help him turn in 30.

A horrid lie on the edge of a bunker cost him a shot on 12, but a brilliant three-wood approach on 13 yielded another birdie. The three-wood was the go-to club for Harrington and he flushed his second to 12 feet on the 15th and it set up an eagle.

Harrington was in good enough fettle to kick American footballs into the crowd on 16. Good drives on 17 and 18 brought further chances, but he failed to convert them and it left him to sign for a 63 - which leaves him eight adrift of Mickelson.

Keegan Bradley came into the round as the man favoured to challenge Mickelson, but he never recovered from a huge slice of bad luck on 13. The par five is viewed as a birdie opportunity, but Bradley's tee shot hit a tree and ricocheted 40 yards into the water. He carded a bogey and added further bogeys on 15, 16 and 18 which dropped him back to 10-under.

Hunter Mahan is battling his way back to form and he carded a third successive 67 to move to 12-under.

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