(Reuters) – Phil Mickelson recaptured the lead with back-to-back birdies midway through the back nine and went on to a grab a two-stroke advantage over Adam Hadwin in the third round of the Desert Classic in southern California on Saturday.
Mickelson, bidding for a wire-to-wire victory, had trailed the fast-starting Hadwin until a 35-foot birdie putt at the 13th brought him level with the Canadian.
The five-times major winner moved in front with another birdie at 14 and added his sixth birdie of the day at the 17th to shoot six-under 66 on the PGA West Stadium Course for a 22-under 194 total.
Hadwin, playing the easier Nicklaus Tournament Course, put together seven birdies for a bogey-free round of 65 to finish at 20-under 196.
Adam Long, with a sizzling nine-under 63, was a stroke behind Hadwin on 19-under, with fellow American Steve Marino (67) at 18-under.
Australian Curtis Luck, who had been two strokes off Mickelson’s second-round lead, faded with a four-over 76 that left him 12 shots off the lead.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)