Phil Mickelson wanted another chance to go head-to-head with Tiger Woods at Doral. Nick Watney gave Mickelson all he could handle Saturday in the CA Championship at Doral, Fla.
Mickelson hit his stride on the back nine of the Blue Monster with three straight birdies and wound up with a 3-under-par 69. That still wasn’t enough to shake Watney, who finished off a 67 with a tough par save on the 18th hole to share the 54-hole lead.
They were at 16-under 200, with no one else closer than four shots.
Mickelson had birdie putts inside 12 feet on eight consecutive holes – including a tee shot on the par-3 13th that rolled against the flag stick and stopped a foot away – until a wild tee shot on the 17th hole led to bogey.
Watney, who won at Torrey Pines a month ago, stayed in the game with two good bunker saves and a delicate chip to 3 feet after flirting with the water on the 18th hole.
Woods was thrilled with how he hit the ball, disgusted with his putting, and had to settle for a 68 that left him nine shots behind.
“The best I’ve hit it in a long time,” Woods said. “Granted, I haven’t played in a long time, but still.”
This is his first stroke-play tournament since winning the U.S. Open last summer. Woods had season-ending knee surgery a week later. The leg appears to be better than ever, but his putting left him cursing under his breath on a steamy afternoon in Miami.
Jeev Milkha Singh (68) and Camilo Villegas (69) were tied for third at 12-under 212, and the group another shot behind included Jim Furyk (69), Kenny Perry (71) and Alvaro Quiros, the big-hitting Spaniard who had a 69.
Mickelson, who won two weeks ago at Riviera, can close in on No. 1 in the world ranking by capturing his first World Golf Championship title.
•Bradley shares lead in Puerto Rico: Michael Bradley shot a 68 to take a share of the lead at the Puerto Rico Open with Australian Jason Day heading into the final round at Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.
Day shot a 70 and was at 12-under 204 through three rounds to be atop the leaderboard in a two-way tie for the third day.
•Sindelar has one-stroke lead: Joey Sindelar moved a step closer to his first Champions Tour victory, shooting a 2-under 70 to take a one-stroke lead over Don Pooley in the AT&T Champions Classic at Santa Clarita, Calif.
Sindelar, winless in 22 starts on the Champions Tour after winning seven times on the PGA Tour, had a 10-under 134 total on the Valencia Country Club course.
Jay Haas (69) was two strokes back at 8 under, Steve Thomas (66) was 7 under, and Tim Simpson (69) and Bruce Lietzke (70) were another stroke behind at 6 under.
Wade explodes on Jazz
Dwyane Wade had 50 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, Jermaine O’Neal added 28 points and eight rebounds, and the Heat pulled off two huge last-ditch rallies to beat the Utah Jazz in triple overtime, 140-129 in Miami.
Wade sealed it with a pair of foul shots with 44.4 seconds left – tying his career high in scoring on a day when he passed Alonzo Mourning to become the franchise’s leading scorer, and set bests in field goals made (19) and attempted (39).
•Spurs defeat Rockets: Tony Parker scored 28 points, Tim Duncan added 15 points and 12 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Rockets 88-85 in Houston.
Parker also had eight assists and Michael Finley added 17 points for the Spurs, who came up with two defensive stops in the final 15 seconds.
Brodeur ties record
Martin Brodeur tied Patrick Roy’s NHL career record of 551 wins when the New Jersey goalie led the Devils to a 3-1 win over the Canadiens in Montreal.
Brodeur has earned seven wins in eight starts after a 50-game absence caused by the first serious injury of his career. He will get his first chance at breaking the record Tuesday night at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.
•Ovechkin scores big for Capitals: Alex Ovechkin moved within one goal of becoming the first Washington player with 50 in three seasons and netted the shootout winner to help the Capitals end a four-game home losing streak, a 5-4 win over the Hurricanes in Washington.
Friesan Fire wins big
Friesan Fire surged ahead down the stretch and left the field in his muddy wake, winning the $600,000 Louisiana Derby by more than seven lengths in New Orleans, to solidify his credentials as a top contender for the Kentucky Derby.
In other Kentucky Derby prep races, Win Willy passed heavily favored Old Fashioned in the stretch to win the $300,000 Rebel Stakes in an upset at Hot Springs, Ark., Musket Man overtook Join in the Dance in the final length to win the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby at Oldsmar, Fla., and Pioneer of the Nile romped to a 1 1/4 -length victory in the $200,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.
Svindal wins overall title
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway clinched his second overall World Cup title by a record-low two-point margin, winning when Benjamin Raich of Austria straddled a gate in the opening run of the final slalom of the season at Are, Sweden.
American Bode Miller, the defending men’s overall champion, sat out the last three weekends in Europe and skipped the World Cup finals.
•Poutiainen wins women’s GS title: Tanja Poutiainen of Finland clinched the World Cup giant slalom title by finishing second to Tina Maze of Slovenia in the final GS race this season at Are, Sweden.
•Abraham retains title: Arthur Abraham retained his IBF middleweight boxing title with a unanimous decision over Lajuan Simon at Kiel, Germany.