Danny Lee's steady performance at the 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open resulted in him taking the lead after the third round with a 54-hole score of 13-under par thanks to a 67 on Saturday.
Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama remain in the mix, entering the final 18 holes on Sunday tied for second place and three shots behind Lee.
Here's what the full leaderboard at TPC Scottsdale looks like:
Even though he still faces a steep climb on Sunday, Mickelson's third-round 65 is the latest evidence suggesting he's in an excellent groove this year. It also makes his missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open all the more peculiar.
In three events covering nine rounds this year, Mickelson has shot under par seven times and hit par once. The only outlier was the 76 fired in the second round last week. Lefty went into the clubhouse on Saturday with an exclamation point, as illustrated by his stats, per the PGA Tour:
Six birdies. No bogeys.
Phil Mickelson caps off Round 3 with a bang.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR)
Yet that final birdie was just the tip of the iceberg for Mickelson, whose run of excellence started on his ninth hole (No. 18) by breaking par three times in a four-hole stretch. He also went the entire round without a bogey—the first time he's done that since the CareerBuilder Challenge's final round.
Speaking after the round, per ESPN.com's Jason Sobel, Mickelson had an interesting take on the course in Scottsdale, Arizona:
Breaking down the golf course, Phil Mickelson says it's now less offensive and more defensive. Or maybe he was talking about the Super Bowl.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN)
It's an interesting theory for Mickelson to posit, since he's a player who is known for cutting things loose. The fact he was able to post a low number on a "more defensive" course bodes well for his chances heading into the final round.
Fowler may have been hindered by the defensive nature of the course on Saturday, shooting just one under par. The California native was not afraid to go for broke, like this shot on the 15th hole that nearly turned into a disaster; the PGA Tour provided highlights:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR)