Phil Mickelson has upped his game and taken the lead over golf great Tiger Woods and fellow Californian golfer Nick Watney at the HSBC Championships, further fueling the rivalry that has kept fans tuning in ever since he and Woods resumed playing together six weeks ago in Atlanta. This was also the first time that Mickelson has played in a final group with Woods in more than four years. The two of them had paired earlier in the Masters and Mickelson won a tournament the last time that both of them were in the final round at the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship although they were not in the final group.
Mickelson catapulted himself from a two-shot deficit to a two-shot lead over Woods and Watney over the final eight holes. Woods had earlier established a lead at the start of the tournament, with a 15-putt birdie on the eighth hole and another birdie that gave him a two-point lead. However, after missing several birdies and driving into the rough, Woods know he was not doing well with those missed shots.
“I didn’t putt as well as I did the first two days. And the back nine, I didn’t take advantage of the par 5s and 16. I hit it in there stiff and missed that one as well. Consequently, I was three shots worse.”
Mickelson expressed his excitement to see how long this lead lasts.
“I know we are both looking forward to it,” he said. “I think it will be a fun day, and we are excited to be playing in the last group here in China.”