Golf

Phoenix Open 2013: Phil Mickelson draws record crowd, dominates though 3 rounds

San Diego native and former Arizona State Sun Devil Phil Mickelson continued his torrid pace in the Arizona Desert at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday, firing a 64 in the third round and moving ever-closer to a wire-to-wire win. 

He also helped to draw a record gallery, with an estimated 179,022 people making up the throng that followed the four-time major winner around the links on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The course, city and his stellar play made for a special environment Mickelson to get his next PGA TOUR win. 

“(A win) would be an important thing because it’s meant so much to me over my career having won this tournament, coming back as a past champion, and winning here in the town that has meant so much to me, to (wife) Amy and I, where we met, had our first two kids, went to college,” Mickelson said. “It’s a special place.”

Mickelson is already one of the most popular players on the PGA TOUR, but the fact that he’s playing well in a place where he’s especially adored is creating a perfect storm of must-see golf. The Phoenix Open crowd is historically one of the most unconventional and rowdy in the sport, and just their activity is a reason for non-golf fans to tune in and see what all of the hype is about. 

This year, it’s about chasing records, as Mickelson narrowly missed a 54-hole PGA TOUR record for the lowest score. His 24-under through three rounds is just one stroke shy of that mark, and tied the tournament record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.

The legend will continue on Sunday at 11 a.m., with Mickelson holding a six-shot lead over Brandt Snedeker. The next two players are each eight shots back of the lefty. National television coverage for the event will begin at noon PT on NBC. 

 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His credits include Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among others.
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