Even though Phil Mickelson is known for being able to get out of tricky situations, Saturday presented more than he would have liked.
Whether it was hitting trees, spectators, you name it, Phil was all over the place during his third round. What is more remarkable is the fact that he was able to shoot a second consecutive round of one under par 70 to stay tied for the lead. Mickelson only had two birdies and one bogey on his scorecard, but the pars are what really mattered to him, as he was consistently able to skirt around trouble by making pars.
This sort of play was okay for Phil during the second round, where a holed second shot on a par 4 made up for his mistakes on the back side, but Mickelson has given everyone behind him a chance to catch up and surpass him. On Friday no one really responded but on Saturday there were quite a few low scores that were posted, and now there are a total of eight players within three shots of the lead.
One of the players that took advantage was Keegan Bradley, who won last year's PGA Championship in a playoff over Jason Dufner. Bradley had six birdies and one bogey on the day for a 66 to put him in a tie for first with Mickelson. The key for Bradley on Saturday was his irons, as he was able to give himself great opportunities for birdie and made a few of them.
As far as who will win on Sunday, I don't like Phil's chances, especially considering the way he has been playing over the past couple of days. He certainly has the capability of pulling off a round like he did at Pebble Beach last week, but his inconsistent long game should catch up to him on Sunday, with someone behind him (my guess: Bill Haas or Dustin Johnson) shooting a round in the mid-60's and winning it. Comebacks have been happening with regularity during the 2012 PGA Tour season, so why should this event be any different?
Ryan Kekoufski is a scratch golfer who has both played and watched the sport for over a decade. He covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and currently resides in Virginia.