February 3 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The sky is gray and the air is cool as Phil Mickelson begins his trek toward history at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Mickelson, who starts the final round with a six-stroke advantage, needs a 64 in order to shoot the lowest score in PGA TOUR history. That distinction is now owned by Tommy Armour, who shot 254 (on a par 70 course) at the Valero Texas Open.
Mickelson, who is 24 under, is playing with Brandt Snedeker and Padraig Harrington, who shot 63 on Saturday and trails by eight. Snedeker, who tied for second last week at the Farmers Insurance Open, would like nothing better than to drain some birdie putts early in his round to put pressure on Mickelson.
"I'm not playing for second," Snedeker, who is 18 under, said. "I have already had one of those this year. You play to win, and I'm going to try to win (Sunday)."
Snedeker has come from behind in three of his four victories -- making up deficits of seven, six and five strokes.
Mickelson's performance this week at TPC Scottsdale, where he has won two times before, certainly has been impressive. He's made 24 birdies and one eagle with the only blemish on his card a double bogey at the 18th hole on Friday.
"He's definitely put himself in a great position," said Troy Matteson, who started the final round at 15 under. "... Hats off to him. A guy comes out and almost shoots 59 the first round, it's just really unbelievable to see guys play like that because the quality of golf is so good out here. It's hard to get three, four, five, six shots ahead."
Judging from the early results, TPC Scottsdale is once again yielding birdies. Ryan Palmer and Bo Van Pelt are 4 under through seven holes while Bubba Watson is at the same number through eight and Kevin Stadler has turned in 31.
"You just know you've got to go shoot a great score to make up any ground the way he's playing," said Ryan Moore, who started the final round 16 under. "... You've just got to approach (Sunday) and keep your head down and keep playing hard. Never know what's going to happen."