Phil moves into contention; Spieth drops off the pace
Both will be chasing leader Casey during final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
February 09, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Phil Mickelson Round 3 highlights at AT&T Pebble Beach
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Phil Mickelson struggled on the front nine. That gave him time to bounce back into contention.
Jordan Spieth struggled on the back nine. That only gave him time to fume.
The two past AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am champs – each playing at Pebble Beach on Saturday -- appeared on the verge of making their presence felt at the top of the leaderboard during Saturday’s third round. But while Mickelson will have a chance to chase his fifth tournament title on Sunday, Spieth appears to have too much ground to make up.
Mickelson is at 12 under and in solo second; he’ll be in the final group with tournament leader Paul Casey (15 under). In making the cut Saturday, he becomes the 18th player in PGA TOUR history to make 500 cuts in his career.
Spieth, the 2017 champ, is in a four-way tie for 18th after a bogey-double bogey finish left him at 7 under.
“I’m very frustrated,” Spieth said. “If I just go par, par, I’m essentially still in this tournament with what’s forecasted tomorrow. I kind of threw myself out of this tournament. So yeah, it will affect me for awhile.”
Spieth was at 11 under through 12 holes and in prime chasing position of Casey. But a wayward drive at the par-4 13th – he was heading back toward the teebox until his ball was located – produced a double bogey. After a bogey at the 17th, a poor drive at the par-5 18th set up another double.
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“My driver just didn’t behave at all,” said Spieth after his 2-over 74. “It was a 150-yard spread on either side and that’s not good around Pebble Beach.”
Mickelson’s driver didn’t always cooperate, either.
On Thursday, he hit all 13 fairways while playing Monterey Peninsula, but in the last two rounds, he’s 13 of 28 in fairways hit. A poor drive on the opening hole Saturday set up a bogey, but he bounced back with a birdie on the par-5 second. That was the start of a roller-coaster round that finally got untracked on his final eight holes, as he went bogey-free with a birdie at the 13th and his first career eagle (in 38 career rounds at Pebble Beach) at the par-5 14th.
Making up three shots not only gave him a spot in the final group, it put him in a good frame of mind as he tries to chase down Casey. After missing the cut last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Mickelson changed drivers and has been pleased with the results.
He may still miss some fairways, but a 331-yard drive – his distance on the 14th that set up a 4-iron from 238 yards that landed inside 4 feet for eagle – confirmed he made the right decision in his equipment adjustment.
“I had been working on getting a different driver in play and I took a chance thinking I had figured something out at Waste Management – and I ended up driving it awful, into the water,” Mickelson said after his 2-under 70. “I went back to the driver I played well with in Palm Springs and I’ll stay with that all the way through Augusta.”
Jordan Spieth's slo-mo swing is analyzed at AT&T Pebble Beach