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Bubba Up by Two in Scottsdale


Bubba Watson moved ahead by two strokes heading into the final round of the $6.2 million Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.

After opening with rounds of 64 and 66 to share the top spot on the leaderboard over the first two rounds, the 2012 Masters champion took the solo lead with a 3-under 68 Saturday. Despite having several wild drives, the long-hitting Watson scrambled well enough to post four birdies and a lone bogey in the third round.

The 35-year-old Floridian, who also has a home in the Phoenix area, stands at 15-under 198, two shots ahead of Kevin Stadler (67) and three in front of Harris English (69), Ryan Moore (64) and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama (68). After a birdie on the front nine, Moore warmed up on the home half with six birdies.

Sharing sixth at 202 are Hunter Mahan (65), Australia's Matt Jones (72) and Brendan Steele, who recorded the low round of the tournament, a 9-under 62. Steele, a 30-year-old Californian with one Tour title, had five birdies on the front nine and four more on the back.

"I think a lot of driver here is good for me, kind of medium-wide fairways," Steele said of TPC Scottsdale. "Getting it down there suits my game . . . I think that's probably why I've had good success here."

Jason Kokrak (68), Pat Perez (70) and Greg Chalmers (71) are tied for ninth at 203 heading into Sunday, while another shot back is Canada's Graham DeLaet (65).

Seven strokes behind Watson are Matt Every (67), Ricky Barnes (67), Chris Stroud (68), Nick Watney (68), Patrick Reed (71) and Morgan Hoffman (70).

Defending champion Phil Mickelson carded a 1-over 72 to drop into a tie for 40th at 1-over 210. At the raucous, grandstand-enclosed par-3 16th, Mickelson uncharacteristically threw a few autographed footballs into the crowd. Unfortunately, his largesse didn't pay off as he took a double-bogey on the 128-yard par-3.

"I think it's the last time I'm going to do that, because mentally I was thinking about throwing it a couple holes prior," Mickelson told PGATour.com. "It took me out of my element. I hit the worst shot imaginable on that 16th hole, and then I followed with four other terrible ones. It was just some of the worst shots imaginable."

After a bogey on the par-5 18th, Mickelson told reporters later that his football-tossing on the 16th threw him off. "I just lost focus, and I think a lot of it was due to the fact that I have never done something like that on the 16th hole," Mickelson noted. "I thought it was going to be fun, and it kind of took away my focus."

Traditionally the best-attended event on the PGA Tour, TPC Scottsdale hosted a record 189,722 fans on Saturday.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/waste-management-phoenix-open/leaderboard.html.