KIAWAH ISLAND, SC — Phil Mickelson looked set to run away with the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Championship until a major stumble saw his five-shot cushion evaporate, but he steadied the ship in time to sit one shot clear of Brooks Koepka after the third round on Saturday.
The 50-year-old Mickelson, who is bidding to become the oldest major winner in history, carded a two-under-par 70 that left him at seven under on the week and one shot clear of Koepka (70), who had a share of the lead until a closing bogey.
Mickelson began the day at the Ocean Course with a one-shot share of the lead with South African Louis Oosthuizen (72) but made a sizzling start with four birdies over the first seven holes and led by five shots after a birdie at the 10th.
However, things started to unravel at the par-four 12th hole where Mickelson, whose most recent major triumph came at the 2013 British Open, made his first bogey in 21 holes.
Mickelson’s tee shot at the par-four 13th then found water en route to a double-bogey that left him just one shot in front of Koepka and Oosthuizen.
Four-times major champion Koepka, playing in the penultimate pairing, moved into a share of the lead with a tap-in birdie at the par-five 16th but fell one back after two-putting from about six feet at the last.
Former British Open champion Oosthuizen was alone in third place, two shots back of Mickelson.
Masters champion Matsuyama (76), in his second tournament since becoming the first Japanese man to win a major, had been in contention until a disastrous stretch that saw him cover the final eight holes in six over par.
Jordan Spieth (68), who arrived at Kiawah Island seeking a win to become only the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam of winning golf’s four major championships, struggled on the Ocean Course greens and will start the final round seven shots back in a share of 13th place. — Reuters