Paul Casey was far away from all the antics and quietly put together another solid round Saturday for a 5-under 67 that gave him a three-shot lead over Phil Mickelson going into the final day of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Casey had four birdies over his last 10 holes at Spyglass Hill in a mixture of rain, sunshine and wind. He finished at 15-under 200, the fourth time on the PGA Tour had he has led going into the final round.
“I am having a blast,” Casey said.
Mickelson was part of the celebrity rotation at Pebble Beach and put on a show on the back nine, stuffing a wedge to 3 feet on No. 13 and following with a 4-iron to 4 feet on the par-5 14th hole for eagle. He also made a tough save on the par-3 17th and shot a 2-under 70, giving him a good chance to match Mark O'Meara's record of five AT&T Pebble Beach titles.
Casey and Mickelson have done their best with so many shots to back pins, typically set to the highest point on the three courses to avoid any saturation from the hit-and-miss rain.
“The little half-shots to get back to some of these pins, a lot of guys struggle with, and it's been a strength of my game,” Mickelson said. “So I've been able to make a few more birdies on some of these holes.”
The weather again was problematic, though the tournament managed to get in 54 holes.
It started under a blue sky with patches of clouds that soon took aim at the Monterey Peninsula, dropped temperatures by some 10 degrees and brought enough rain to make it tougher than usual.
That's not what stopped Jordan Spieth.
He was tied for the lead after a birdie on the par-3 fifth hole and remained in range of Casey until Spieth pulled his tee shot so badly on the 13th hole that he didn't know where it was until it was spotted 140 yards behind where he was looking, under a cluster of trees. He wound up making double bogey, and then after a three-putt bogey from the wrong side of the 17th green, Spieth pulled his tee shot into the ocean on the 18th hole for another double bogey and a 74. He went from being in the mix to eight shots behind.
“It was going to bite me at some point,” Spieth said. “I didn't necessarily deserve to be a couple under par at the time, and so it ended up kind of haunting me there. I drove the ball well the last two days, and then today my driver just didn't behave at all. It was a 150-yard spread on either side, and that's not good around Pebble Beach.”
Lucas Glover had a birdie-bogey finish at Monterey Peninsula for a 1-under 70 and was at 11-under 204, along with Scott Piercy (69 at Spyglass Hill).
Casey was recently in the news for a tournament he didn't play, the Saudi International, a new event on the European Tour that came under scrutiny for Saudi Arabia's human-rights record and the recent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
He was on the original list of commitments without his approval, and said he was never going. Casey is an ambassador for UNICEF and has the logo on his golf bag, which he displayed on an Instagram post to confirm he was not playing.
“I stand firm on what I said,” Casey said.
He is more interested in what he can accomplish Sunday at a tournament that, with reasonable weather and an enjoyable amateur partner, he has come to enjoy. Casey is playing with Don Colleran, the chief sales officer for FedEx. They have a four-shot lead in the pro-am.
But 54-hole leads have not been friendly to him. Casey is 0-3 with the lead going into the final round on the PGA Tour, losing a three-shot lead two years ago at the TPC Boston when Rory McIlroy shot 65, and a four-shot lead last summer at the Travelers Championship when Bubba Watson closed with a 63. He also lost a two-shot lead in the 2017 Tour Championship to Xander Schauffele.
All three times, Casey shot a final round of 2-over or worse.
Now he has Mickelson, who three weeks ago finished one shot behind in the Desert Classic. Mickelson had consecutive bogeys as the wind and rain were at their worst along the coastal holes of Nos. 9 and 10, and then recovered brilliantly.
The wind was strong enough off the Pacific that he had only a 4-iron into the 14th, and it never left the flag, leaving a tap-in eagle.
“I thought anything in the 60s was going to be a heck of a round, and I was one shy,” Mickelson said. “But I've got a good chance going into tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.”
Langer eagles 18th for lead
BOCA RATON — Bernhard Langer eagled the par-5 18th for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead Saturday in the PGA Tour Champions' Oasis Championship.
Langer rebounded from a bogey on the par-4 17th with the eagle to reach 12-under 132 at The Old Course at Broken Sound.
“It was sweet after making bogey on 17 from the middle of the fairway,” Langer said. “After making my first bogey of the week there, it was nice to finish with three perfect shots.”
The 61-year-old German star won the 2010 event and finished second last year, two strokes behind Mark Calcavecchia. Langer lives 10 minutes from the course.
“I know the golf course, know how to play it,” Langer said. “It's a shot-maker's course. You've got to drive the ball well and hit greens and hopefully roll a few in. There's no excuse if I mess up because I know how to play every hole. But the wind makes it very tough, always does, and the wind was up today and it's probably going to be blowing even more tomorrow.”
Marco Dawson was second after a 67, and David Toms (67) and Brandt Jobe (65) were two strokes back at 10-under in the first full-field event of the season. First-round leader Jesper Parnevik followed his opening 63 with a 72 to drop into a tie for fifth at 9-under with Bob Estes (68), Tom Byrum (69) and Woody Austin (70).
Fred Couples was 8-under after a 69.
Retief Goosen was tied for 18th at 6-under after his second 69 in his senior debut.
Gary Nicklaus, also making his first tour start, followed an opening 67 with a 77 to fall into a tie for 49th at even par. The 50-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus is playing on a sponsor exemption.
Kaufman up by 2
BARWON HEADS, Australia — Second-round leader Kim Kaufman holed out from the bunker for birdie on the par-3 seventh hole, helping her take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the LPGA's Vic Open.
The American otherwise had a forgettable third round with four bogeys and a double bogey in tough windy conditions late Saturday for a 3-over 75. France's Celine Boutier (69) and Su Oh of Australia (74) were tied for second.
Kaufman's shot from the bunker bounded straight off the bottom of the flagstick and into the hole. She raised her arms in triumph and then high-fived her caddie.
“It was so windy in that bunker,” said Kaufman. “My club wasn't even set but I stood there too long and thought, `I've just got to hit this,' and as soon as I did I thought, `It's gone way too far.’ I just jarred it.
“It was a great time to do it. That round was six hours of getting beat up by the wind.”
Going into Sunday's final round at the 13th Beach Golf Links, Kaufman had a 54-hole total of 10-under 207.
In the European Tour's men's event being played alongside the women's tournament, Australian Wade Ormsby, who shot 70, will take a two-stroke lead into the final round. Callum Shinkwin of England (66) and Australian Matthew Stieger (65) were tied for second.
Strong winds hit the course in the early afternoon, making scoring difficult for the late starters.
That didn't bother Stieger, who won the Australian amateur title in 2011 and who played his junior golf at St. Michael's, an ocean-side course in Sydney.
“I've played a lot of golf in the wind so I actually like these types of conditions,” said Stieger. “The first day it didn't blow at all and I shot 1-under. Then yesterday it blew in the afternoon, I shot 5-under and then it blew this morning and I shot 7-under. So it's getting better and better, which is good. I'm just hoping for another day like this tomorrow.”
Under the tournament format, 144 men and women began play on two courses in alternate groups on Thursday. The Friday cut saw 65 players and ties advance to Saturday, and then the top 35 and ties from each tournament moved on to Sunday's final round, using only the Beach course on the weekend and again in alternate groups.
Defending women's champion Minjee Lee missed the third-round cut after a 74 Saturday.
The Women's Australian Open, also sanctioned by the LPGA, will be played next week at The Grange in Adelaide. The men's European Tour is co-sanctioning the Perth World Super 6 in Western Australia next week.