The BMW Championship turned into golf’s version of an All-Star game Saturday with Phil Mickelson making 10 birdies to share the lead with Vijay Singh, and a host of other proven players lined up behind them at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind.
After Singh had his only three-putt of the tournament from about 45 feet on the last hole for a 69, he and Mickelson were at 16-under 200 going into a final round loaded with possibilities.
“It’s taken me a little while to piece it back together, but I could tell last week that my game was back and I was ready to play at the highest level again,” Mickelson said. “... I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s shootout. It should be fun.”
Rory McIlroy, going for his second consecutive FedEx Cup playoff win and his PGA Tour-leading fourth of the year, birdied the 18th to salvage an ordinary day with a 69. He was one shot behind with Lee Westwood, a former world No. 1 who made all five of his birdies on the back nine for a 68.
Dustin Johnson, who has finished no worse than fourth in the other two playoff events, had a 67 and was in the group two shots behind that included Adam Scott and Robert Garrigus.
“The cream has risen to the top, hasn’t it?” Westwood said.
The 16 players separated by five shots have won 29 majors and 21 World Golf Championships, and four of them have been No. 1 in the world over the last decade.
“The crowd is pretty rowdy, and it’s an incredible leaderboard,” Scott said. “It’s going to be fun. I’m glad I put myself in that position.”
Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, who was tied for second entering the round, faltered with a 1-over 73 and is tied for 12th at 11-under 205.
Paula Creamer moved into position to end a two-year victory drought, shooting a 6-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the LPGA’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va. The nine-time winner chipped in for birdie on the par-4 13th in her bogey-free round for a 16-under 197 total, the lowest 54-hole score in the history of the event. Second-round leader Jiyai Shin was second after a 69. ... England’s Graeme Storm blew a five-stroke lead midway through the third round and dropped into a four-way tie for the KLM Open lead in Hilversum, Netherlands. Storm finished with a 1-under 69 to match Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson at 12 under. ... Michael Castleforte, John Rudolph, John Ehrgott and Matthew Mattare shot 2-under 69 in the U.S. Mid-Amateur to share the first-round lead in stroke-play qualifying in Lake Forest, Ill. ... Lisa Schlesinger of Laytonsville, Md., shot a 4-under 70 to top the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur leaderboard during the suspended first round of stroke-play qualifying in Hershey, Pa. Play was delayed because of rain and lightning.
TRACKING LOCAL GOLFERS ON PGA TOUR
THIS WEEK: BMW Championship, Thursday through today, Crooked Stick Golf Club, Carmel, Ind.
IN THE FIELD: Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley.
MOORE’S THiRD-ROUND SCORE: 1-over-par 73.
STANLEY’S THiRD-ROUND SCORE: 3-under 69.
POSITION: Moore (11-under 205) is tied for 12th, and Stanley (9-under 207) is tied for 18th behind co-leaders Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh (200).
RECAP: Much like the third round of last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, Moore lost ground to the leaders playing in the final group. He couldn’t keep up the birdie-making pace of the first two days (made 12 combined Thursday and Friday; two Saturday). Moore got back to even-par with his birdie at No. 15, but dropped a shot on the final hole when he could not get up and down from left of the green, missing a 7-foot putt. Moore has ground to make up to advance to the Tour Championship (ranked 32nd in the live points standings). … Stanley keeps holding steady at No. 30 in the playoff points, which is the cut to make the Tour Championship. His highlight was an eagle at the par-5 ninth (5-iron approach to 8 feet), and he made three more birdies on the back nine.
TODAY’S TEE TIMES: Stanley at 10:15 a.m. (PDT) with Justin Rose, and Moore at 10:35 a.m. with Padraig Harrington. firstname.lastname@example.org