By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As is so often the case at the Wells Fargo Championship, the tournament appears to be coming down to the man who plays the final three holes, which have been nicknamed "The Green Mile," the best.
The stretch, which features two par 4s and a par 3 protected by water, is an extremely challenging one that has ranked among the top five toughest finishing holes in relation to par on the PGA TOUR from 2003-2012.
Adding to the challenge? The rain is at its heaviest as the leaders play the final three holes.
Of the top six players on the leaderboard right now, David Lynn has had the most success -- making birdie on Nos. 17 and 18 on Saturday and another on the final hole Friday to play "The Green Mile" in 3 under.
Phil Mickelson, who leads at 9 under, is 1 over on the stretch this week after that bogey at the 16th on Saturday. But the 17th has been his nemesis -- he's played it 39 times and is 13 over with just three birdies. Ryan Moore, who trails by one, is 3 over after a bogey at the 17th and a double bogey at No. 16.
TOUR rookie Derek Ernst, who is tied with Lynn at 7 under, has made two birdies and a bogey on the final three holes this week. Lee Westwood has played "The Green Mile" similarly with a bogey at the 16th on Saturday but birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 on Friday. Robert Karlsson, the fourth member of the logjam at 7 under, is even par for the stretch.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Everyone has made the turn at Quail Hollow and Phil Mickelson is holding firm to a one-stroke lead at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Lee Westwood was briefly tied with Mickelson at 8 under after he made a 6-footer for birdie at the 10th hole. But the Englishman has just made back-to-back bogeys to drop back to 6 under and into a tie with Charles Howell III, David Lynn, Derek Ernst and overnight leader Nick Watney.
Howell is 3 under for the day and playing the 18th hole.
Mickelson's closest competitors now are Ryan Moore and Robert Karlsson, who are tied at 7 under. Karlsson, who lives about 20 minutes from Quail Hollow, has been very steady, making one birdie and 10 pars so far on Sunday. Moore had a tough start, making bogeys on his first two holes, but has made three birdies over his next nine holes.
Karlsson and Ernst need to win the Wells Fargo Championship to get into the field for next week's PLAYERS Championship, which is the PGA TOUR's flagship event.
Rory McIlroy, the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship winner, is having his troubles on the back nine. He hit his drive right into the trees at the 12th hole and his second shot went even deeper. His third shot found the fringe, 88 feet from the pin, and he putted to 12 feet, then two-putted for bogey.
McIlroy, who lost in a playoff last year, made another bogey at the 13th hole and now trails by four with four holes to play.
Phil Mickelson hits a 43-yard chip on the par-5 5th hole to inside 6 feet and sinks his putt for a birdie that got him back to 8 under and atop the leaderboard at the Wells Fargo Championship.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson has regained the top spot on the leaderboard as a steady rain continues to fall at the Wells Fargo Championship.
The World Golf Hall of Famer made a 6-footer for birdie at the par-5 sixth hole to get back to 8 under and into a tie again with his overnight co-leader, Nick Watney. Since Watney couldn't convert a 9-footer to save par at the sixth hole, Mickelson is alone at the top.
Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Robert Karlsson, the Swede who now lives in Charlotte, are also one stroke off the pace. Karlsson, who hasn't had a top-10 finish on TOUR since he tied for fourth at the 2011 PGA Championship, just made a 7-footer for birdie at the eighth hole.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A cold rain is starting to fall in earnest at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday morning.
Nick Watney is in sole possession of the lead at 8 under after pars on his first four holes. Phil Mickelson, who shared the overnight lead, fell one stroke behind when he three-putted the third hole from 32 feet.
Mickelson is now tied with Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy. McIlroy, the 2010 champ who lost in a playoff last year, bogeyed his first hole but has made three birdies his next six holes, including a two-putt from 63 feet at the par-5 seventh.
Westwood has two birdies and one bogey in his first six holes.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson has done everything but win the Wells Fargo Championship.
In nine appearances, he has finished 12th or better seven times and fifth or better on four occasions. He was the runner-up in 2010 when Rory McIlroy shot past the field with a course-record 62.
Mickelson just teed off in the final round, tied for the lead with Nick Watney. Will this be his year?
Five third-round leaders have held on for victory -- but none since Sean O'Hair won in 2009. McIlroy was four strokes back while Lucas Glover and Rickie Fowler started three strokes off the pace in their 2011 and '12 wins, respectively.
And McIlroy, among others, is in the mix again. He bogeyed his first hole but has just made birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 to move to 6 under and two strokes off the pace.
What do you think will happen today at the Wells Fargo Championship? Use the comments section below and let us know.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Caroline Wozniacki made sure a birthday cake was delivered to her boyfriend Rory McIlroy. The tennis star gave him a bracelet and a couple of pairs of shoes, as well.
Several friends gave the young Northern Irishman, who turned 24 on Saturday, a powerstation for his iPhone because he uses it so much the battery drains quickly. But the best present he may have gotten didn't come wrapped with a bow.
That's because until Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney reached the challenging Green Mile at Quail Hollow on Saturday, McIlroy appeared destined to start the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship, a tournament he won in 2010, a distant five strokes off the pace.
Instead, the two leaders struggled on the closing stretch -- Mickelson following a double bogey with a bogey at the 16th hole and Watney shanking his tee shot on the way to a double at the 17th. Both had reached double digits under par, but will start the final round a 8 under, instead.
"I think they may have given me a little bit of a birthday present right there," said McIlroy, who shot a disappointing 73 in the third round. "I'm only three back heading into (Sunday), and that's as good as I could ask for."
McIlroy, who lost in a playoff at Quail Hollow last year, has been flawless tee-to-green this week -- ranking first in driving accuracy and greens in regulation. He's struggled on the greens, though, taking 29, 31 and 33 putts, respectively.
"When I got on the greens it was a problem," McIlroy acknowledged. "I gave myself a lot of chances out there for birdies and even some short par putts from 4 or 5 feet. I just couldn't hole anything (Saturday).
"I think when you miss a few putts on these greens, you sort of lose confidence in your stroke and then it's just sort of hard to commit fully to what you want to do. If I want to hole some putts tomorrow, I need to do a better job of that."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The rain is on the way but the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship got under way as scheduled at 6:45 a.m.
Scattered light showers will increase Sunday morning and become a steady rain in the afternoon. Heavy downpours are possible, particularly in the afternoon and evening.
Up to 2 inches of rain is possible by Monday night. Temperatures on Sunday will remain in the 50s and the wind will be in the 15-20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph.