Phil Mickelson is tied for the lead in the Houston Open as he prepares for next week's Masters.
He doesn’t see why he can’t win ’em both.
Mickelson shot his lowest round in two years on Saturday, tying the course record with a 9-under 63 to join Scott Verplank atop the leaderboard through three rounds on the Tournament Course at Redstone in Humble, Texas.
Verplank, coping with soreness in his left wrist, shot his second straight 65 to catch Mickelson at 13-under par. Aaron Baddeley (66) and second-round leader Chris Kirk (69) were one stroke back, and defending champion Anthony Kim and David Hearn (66) were two behind.
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Mickelson, the defending Masters champion, has won the last four events during which he had a round of 64 or better, dating to the 2006 BellSouth Classic. That year, he earned his second green jacket the following week and is the last player to win the event before Augusta and the Masters in the same year.
The Houston Open became the run-up tournament to the first major in 2007, and Mickelson is in it for the fourth straight year. He said winning the week before the ’06 Masters gave him a valuable boost, and he sees no disadvantage in trying to duplicate that feat.
“People have talked about winning the week before a major as not necessarily the greatest thing, because it takes away energy, or what have you,” Mickelson said. “I felt like in ’06, it was really a benefit to gain the momentum and confidence of winning a golf tournament right before, especially the Masters.”
TSENG NABS LEAD
Defending champion Yani Tseng roared into the lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship with a third-round 66, moving two shots ahead of Stacy Lewis in the LPGA Tour’s first major of the year in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
The top-ranked Tseng had the day’s low score at Mission Hills to move to 12-under 204. She erased playing partner Lewis’ three-shot lead in the first seven holes before going ahead on the 11th.
Lewis finished with a 71. Morgan Pressel (69) is four shots off the lead in third place. Michelle Wie (69) is six shots back.
Tom Lehman broke the course record by shooting an 8-under 64, taking a one stroke lead over Jeff Sluman after the second round of the Champions Tour’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak in Saucier, Miss. Lehman birdied five straight holes on the back nine, starting with a 35-foot putt on No. 12, to charge up the leaderboard after a slow start. Sluman shot a bogey-free 66 for the second straight day. Defending champion Rhys Davies of Wales recovered from a poor start to shoot a 4-under 68 and share the lead with David Horsey after the third round of the European Tour’s Trophee Hassan II in Agadir, Morocco.