SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Phil Mickelson drew the loudest cheers from the biggest crowd in golf history Saturday at the Phoenix Open.
Mickelson nearly aced the par-3 16th, hitting a 9-iron to a foot to set up a birdie on the rowdy stadium hole packed with nearly 20,000 screaming fans.
What’s funny about that is 172 yards is a very tough 9-iron for me to get there, but I immediately take 5 yards off and in my head I had 167, Mickelson said. The reason is you always have a little bit of adrenaline here, and the ball goes a little bit longer on 16.
I played for a 167-yard shot and tried to hit just a comfortable or stock 9-iron, and the ball ended up flying that far and released to the hole. Having played this course and that hole over the years and knowing what your body does and how to adjust to it has helped me, and certainly it did today.
Estimated at 179,022, the third-round crowd broke the record of 173,210 set last year, also on a Saturday at fan-friendly TPC Scottsdale. The event has drawn 467,030 fans for the week.
Mickelson birdied the final four holes and five of the last six for a 7-under 64 and a six-stroke lead over Brandt Snedeker.
EUROPEAN: In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Stephen Gallacher shot a 10-under 62 to grab a three-shot lead at the Dubai Desert Classic and break a three-round scoring record set by Tiger Woods 12 years ago.
The 111th-ranked Scotsman, who finished second last year in Dubai, is looking for his first European Tour win since 2004.
Gallacher holed a bunker shot on 18 for an eagle to finish with a 21-under total of 195. That improved on Woods’ tournament mark by a shot and just missed tying the course record of 61 set back in 1994 by Ernie Els.