Phil Mickelson's best round of the year wasn't good enough to secure the lead Saturday in the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C., but it did give him a chance to end his slowest start to a season in 11 years.
J.B. Holmes overpowered Quail Hollow on a good day for scoring, and he made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the final hole for a 6-under 66. That wound up giving him a one-shot lead at 13-under 203 when Martin Flores made his only bogey on the final hole. Mickelson had a 63 and was two shots behind.
Flores hit his tee shot into the creek left of the 18th fairway and missed a 20-foot par putt, settling for a 69 that at least put him in the final pairing with Holmes.
They'll be looking at Mickelson, who rolled in birdie putts of 30 feet on No. 4 and 40 feet on the par-3 sixth hole and went out in 29. He took a temporary lead with a 7-iron from 216 yards into 10 feet on the 13th hole and closed with a par as exciting as some of his birdies. After having to lay up out of a fairway bunker, his wedge spun by the hole and left him a tap-in for par.
Not since 2003 -- his last winless year on the PGA Tour -- has Mickelson gone this deep into the season without a victory.
"Just to be in contention, and to have a chance at a golf course that I've become so close to over the years, I'm excited about tomorrow's round," Mickelson said.
LPGA: Stacy Lewis shot a 2-under 69 to grab a share of the lead with Meena Lee after three rounds at the North Texas LPGA Shootout in Irving. Lee shot a 70 to match Lewis at 9-under 204.
Suzann Pettersen, Dori Carter and Julieta Granada all were a stroke back after each shot a 68. Cristie Kerr (69), Christina Kim (70) and Natalie Gulbis (71) were among seven players who were two strokes off the lead. Also in that group was 22-year-old Jennifer Johnson, who shot a 65 for the best round of the day.
Champions: Bernhard Langer shot a 4-under 68 to open a three-stroke lead in the Insperity Invitational. Langer had a 10-under 134 total at The Woodlands (Texas) Country Club.
Colin Montgomerie was second after a 66, the best round of the day. Defending champion Esteban Toledo, Gary Hallberg and Bart Bryant were four strokes back.