Nick Watney (L) and Phil Mickelson (R) will start the final round leading by one stroke.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson hit his second shot at the par-5 15th hole out of bounds and beaned a spectator at the 16th. Nick Watney shanked a 7-iron at the 17th hole.
But for all the errant -- and yes, even embarrassing, shots -- as the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship drew to a conclusion on Saturday, the two will head into the final round tied for the lead at 8 under.
That is, if the final round gets under way on Sunday. The weather forecast is for rain to begin early Sunday morning and continue all day, getting increasingly heavy as the day progresses. Monday's forecast is for more of the same.
In an effort to beat the weather, tournament officials have moved tee times up. Players will be sent off Nos. 1 and 10 in threesomes from 6:45-8:46 a.m. ET.
Watney shot 71 wile Mickelson had a 73. Both lead by two shots on the back nine before the fun started as the vaulted Green Mile took its tool. Their advantage is now one over George McNeill and two over Lee Westwood, John Senden, Ryan Moore, Robert Karlsson, David Lynn aand Derek Ernst.
Rory McIlroy, the 2010 champion who lost in a playoff here a year ago, is three strokes behind. He's tied at 5 under with Brian Harman, Kevin Streelman, Jason Kokrak and D.A. Points, another playoff participant last year.
Robert Karlsson, whose best finish at Quail Hollow is a tie for 24th, is contending in his adopted hometown.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Granted, Robert Karlsson and Ryan Moore each gave a stroke back as they played Quail Hollow's tough three-hole finishing stretch nicknamed "The Green Mile."
But as the leaders were teeing off in the Wells Fargo Championship the two veterans were living proof birdies were to be had on Saturday. Moore birdied five of his first seven holes while Karlsson, the Swede who now lives in Charlotte, made his move up the leaderboard with a 69 that included five birdies.
The two are tied at 6 under, as a result, with John Senden, who shot 67; Derek Ernest and Lee Westwood, who shot 72s, and David Lynn, who birdied the last two holes for his 71. Even better, they are only two strokes off the lead.
"I got off to a hot start," Moore acknowledged. "It was a pretty tough, blustery, windy day and the course is playing long. So you had a lot of long irons, hybrids and even fairway woods into the par 4s. So obviously to get into a off to a hot start like that was great.
"I found myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine and kind of started missing some fairways but I was able to scramble and keep it a reasonable round."
Karlsson, who lives about 20 minutes from Quail Hollow, birdied the first hole for the third time this week. He agreed with Moore about the conditions.
"It's nice to come off to a good start and play well and manage to keep it going," he said. "It's very testing conditions out there. We've got a lot of wind and the greens are not easy to hole a lot of putts on. So it's very important to keep patient and keep going because you never know what's going to happen. If you get a good streak, it could be very good."
The weather is expected to worsen on Sunday and tournament officials have moved tee times up in hopes of getting play complete before the worst of the rain arrives. Players will be sent off in threesomes from 6:45-9:45 a.m.
"I hope the weather holds off," Moore said. "If something pretty tough hits us first thing in the morning I'm not sure what they're going to do to the event. Hopefully it holds off until the afternoon like they're thinking. I'm just gonna go off, keep my head down and see what happens."
"It's obviously not ideal to tee off on Sunday at 7 o'clock in the morning," Karlsson said. "But we'll have to do what we can to get the round finished if the weather's going to be really bad. We're getting used to this this year. We've had a lot of bad weather, and we just need to deal with it."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson simply doesn't like company at the top of the leaderboard at the Wells Fargo Championship.
He held a two-stroke lead a the start of the day and has never relinquished it -- although he's been tied three times, once by his playing partner Scott Gardiner and two more times by Nick Watney.
Mickelson, though, just poured in a 19-footer at the 14th hole and followed it with a mini-fist pump, to get to 11 under and one shot ahead of Watney. George McNeill, who is playing with Watney, is another stroke behind after making a 5-footer at the same hole.
The group at 7 under includes Lee Westwood, who finished fifth at Quail Hollow last year; PGA TOUR rookie Derek Ernst and Duke product Kevin Streelman, who picked up his first win earlier this year.
Rory McIlroy, who won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2010 and lost in a playoff last year, has struggled on the greens Saturday. He's 1 over for the day and is now five strokes behind Mickelson -- the man he beat with a final-round 62 three years ago.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson has now made 38 of 38 putts from inside 10 feet this week, and the 9-footer he just rolled in at the eighth hole has given him the lead again during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Mickelson is now 10 under and one stroke ahead of Nick Watney, who is playing in the penultimate group and had made a 3-footer on the same hole to tie his good friend. George McNeill, who birdied three straight on the front nine and just made the turn in 35, is alone at 8 under.
Robert Karlsson, the Swede who now makes his home in Charlotte, is among five players tied at 7 under after birdies on the 14th and 15th holes. Also at that number is Lee Westwood, who has just made the turn, rookies Scott Gardiner and Derek Ernst, and Duke grad Kevin Streelman.
Rory McIlroy had pulled within a shot of Mickelson when he made a 5-footer for eagle at the seventh hole. But he drove into the trees at the par-5 ninth hole, chipped out and eventually three-putted from 18 feet for double bogey to drop back to 6 under.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After three holes of the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship, Phil Mickelson and Scott Gardiner are tied for the lead at 8 under.
Gardiner, the Australian rookie who is on the verge of turning what he jokingly said he thought might be "agony" at the start of the week into ecstacy, chipped in for birdie at the first hole to close the gap. When Mickelson missed the thrid fairway, as well as the green, and made bogey the two playing partners were deadlocked.
Another rookie, Derek Ernst, made birdie on his first hole and is one stroke behind the leaders, tied with Nick Watney, who is even par through four holes. Rory McIlroy, who missed a 5-footer to save par at the fifth hole, has dropped back into a tie at 6 under with Ryan Moore, Rod Pampling and Lee Westwood.
Moore is by far the furthest along after having played 14 holes. He birdied five of his first seven but made his first bogey at No. 12 so he's 4 under for the day. The other three are even for the day.
Rickie Fowler has a need for speed, and while he was in Charlotte this week for the Wells Fargo Championship, he joined up with NASCAR Sprint Cup star Kasey Kahne at Mooresville Motorplex.
Tom Werme and Bill Rosinski from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio describe the cold and blustery conditions that have greeted players during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Looks like there are birdies to be had at Quail Hollow on Saturday.
Ryan Moore birdied four of his first five holes, including the first three straight, and has moved to 6 under for the tournament. John Senden is also 4 under for the day through eight holes and 5 under for the tournament.
John Merrick got to 5 under for the day when he birdied the par-5 15th hole but he bogeyed No. 16. He's now 3 under with two holes remaining.
The final group, which consists of Phil Mickelson and Scott Gardiner, is still an hour and 12 minutes from teeing off.