• Scottish Open, Round Three

Mickelson hunts maiden European Tour win

ESPN staff
July 13, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Phil Mickelson makes no secret of his desire to win the Scottish Open © Getty Images
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Scottish Open leaderboard

Phil Mickelson has given himself every chance of winning his first regular European Tour event after a six-under 66 on day three at Castle Stuart.

Mickelson began the round four shots off the lead, and it looked like it was going to be a frustrating day for the four-time major champion when he started with seven pars, but three straight birdies from the eighth moved him to within two.

And further birdies at 12, 16 and 18 left the American 14-under par through 54 holes, two off the lead.

"The last 11 holes were a lot of fun," said 43-year-old Mickelson. "The first seven holes I got off to a bit of a slow start and I was really behind when I needed to make up ground.

"On the eighth I tried to slow it down and be patient, got one putt to drop and that seemed to ignite the rest of the round. I've got myself in a good position for tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it.

"I want a shot at the Scottish Open title and I'm playing well enough to do it."

Taking the lead into the final round is Henrik Stenson. The Swede holed three birdies and a bogey before the turn before picking up four more shots coming home to also card 66 and reach 16-under.

"It all clicked into place today," Stenson said. "I was striking the ball very well. It got a bit windy and a bit chilly toward the end but I stuck to my gameplan and played some solid golf.

"I'll get a curry and a couple of naan breads down my neck tonight then I'll come out ready for the final round."

Mickelson is joined in a tie for second by first round leader John Parry and South African Branden Grace - who also recorded 66s - and Dane JB Hansen (69).

Another American, Peter Uihlein (70), is also within touching distance at 13-under, alongside Raphael Jacquelin (65) and Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin, who carded the round-of-the-day 64.

Englishmen Matthew Southgate (71) and Simon Khan (70) and Italian Lorenzo Gagli make up the trio on 12-under, while overnight leader Chris Doak carded a disappointing one-over 73 to end the day at 11-under, where he is tied by English youngster Tommy Fleetwood and recent Irish Open champion Paul Casey, who both shot 68.

The shot of the day came from Italy's Matteo Manassero, who had a hole-in-one at the 218-yard eighth.

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