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Singh Joined by Mickelson atop BMW Championship
While second-round leader Vijay Singh carded a 3-under 69, Phil Mickelson fired Saturday's low score, an 8-under 64 to join the 49-year-old Fijian in the lead of the $8 million BMW Championship. The third leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is being held at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.
The two veterans stand at 16-under 200, one stroke ahead of Rory McIlroy (69) and Lee Westwood (68). Tied for fifth at 202 are Adam Scott (66), Robert Garrigus (66) and Dustin Johnson (67).
For the third day in a row, the players were allowed to lift, clean and place balls hit in the rain-softened non-rough areas of the course. No one took advantage of that allowance better than the 42-year-old Mickelson, who carded 10 birdies and two bogeys, shooting 4-under 32s on the front and back nines. Using a new claw putting grip this week, Mickelson needed only 26 strokes on the short grass in the third round.
"I got it going with the putter," Mickelson told reporters. "I hit a lot of good shots. It was very similar, actually, to yesterday's round where I played really well, had a lot of good opportunities. But yesterday when the ball was getting to the lip and turning away, today they seemed to fall in."
He's expecting more low scores at the Pete Dye-designed course Sunday. "I'm looking forward to tomorrow's shootout," Mickelson added. "It should be fun."
He's been in a funk - for him - this season since winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February. On the year the 2011 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee has logged six top-10 finishes in 20 starts. "It's taken me a little while to piece it back together, but I could tell last week that my game was back and I was ready to play at the highest level again," the four-time major champion said.
"I came out very anxious on Thursday and forced it a little too much the front nine and didn't play a good nine holes," he said of his opening 69. "But after that I've been able to settle down and play some good golf."
Singh noted later that, despite not firing on all cylinders, he's happy where he's at heading into Sunday. "Just a mixed round," the three-time major winner said. "I made some nice putts, I missed some nice putts, and I had some really good chip shots. I chipped in on 15, that was a big one there. It was a mixed plate I would say. I'm striking the ball well and I'm putting well, which kept me going. A round like this, I'm still in there and gives me a chance tomorrow."
McIlroy, who leads the FedEx Cup points list after his victory in last week's Deutsche Bank Championship, wasn't pleased with his play Saturday but knows the tournament is far from over. "It wasn't the greatest ball striking round out there that I've ever had, but somehow managed to scrape it around in 69 and still in with a chance," said the 23-year-old Northern Irishman and two-time major winner. "As badly as I did hit it out there, I'm still happy with my position going into tomorrow."
Woods also noted he wasn't at his best. "I grinded hard," he said. "I didn't have much, and on top of that I made two really bad bogeys on seven and eight from the middle of the fairway, but at least I fought back where I have a chance going into tomorrow. It's probably going to take 63 or 64 tomorrow, but it can be done out here. The golf course is soft, and they've got some pretty easy pins out there tomorrow."
Sharing ninth at 204 are Zach Johnson (68), Graeme McDowell (69) and Bo Van Pelt (71). Only five back of the leaders are Louis Oosthuizen (68), Chris Kirk (69), Ian Poulter (69), Padraig Harrington (70) and Ryan Moore (73).
Six of the top 11 players atop the BMW Championship after three rounds have a combined 25 majors, with Woods' 14 leading the way. "It's an incredible leaderboard," said Scott. "It's going to be fun. I'm glad I put myself in this position."
On Sunday evening at the conclusion of the BMW Championship, the FedEx Cup points will be added up. Only the top-30 players on the points list will move on to the Tour Championship in two weeks at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The ultimate points' leader after the Tour Championship will earn a $10 million bonus.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/r/leaderboard.
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