Uihlein and Mickelson make big moves as Woods's putting improves

UNITED STATES- MAY 02 Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods during the Pro Am prior to the 2007 Wachovia Championship held at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte North Carolina

And he wasn't alone.

Mickelson was among those four shots behind.

The Australian took off his shoes and socks and stood in a small creek to play a shot to the green at the 18th before coming through with a par putt to stand at 10-under 203, two strokes ahead of Nick Watney (66). "If they have a birdie, I've got to try and somehow make a birdie to extend it and hopefully don't give them any sort of opening where they can kind of close the door on me".

Whilst this may sound bad, it highlights just how much he wants to win the coveted Green Jacket.

It was the best round at Quail Hollow since McIlroy's 61 in the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship in which he crushed the field.

And so it goes for golfers, who seemingly always believe that the score could have been lower.

Now, this isn't mockery - reading over Woods' news conference transcripts for his three rounds, especially Saturday, the pages are littered with phrases like that. McIlroy had to settle for a 66. Both, like Woods, began the day well back.

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Uihlein threatened the course record held by Rory McIlroy on moving day with a 62, while Woods still was left puzzled with the speed of the greens. Like Uihlein, Lefty eagled the 10th hole and avoided trouble elsewhere with five birdies and no bogeys. He had a pair of double bogeys, shot 75 and fell seven shots behind. "I'm trying really hard to hit it in the fairway and then trying really hard to get my irons on line. It allowed for us to get it a little bit closer, make some birdies". I just had to be patient.

Before this week, he'd missed the cut in five of his previous 11 starts. Nor did the fact that there would be a good number of people between him and the lead.

He is now the fourth alternate for THE PLAYERS Championship, but could gain entry in the field with a win this week. Lefty had a bogey free round as had 5 birdies and 1 eagle. He then added birdies at the 12th and 13th - failed to birdie the two easiest holes on the back, the 14th and 15th - and added another at the 17th.

With shoes and socks off and his trousers rolled up, Day was shin-deep in the creek that runs on the left side of the 18th fairway with his ball barely on dry land, but he handled it like he had the rest of his shots into the green on his back nine as the shot hit the center of the green and rolled pin-high to 31 feet away from the flag that he safely two-putted to finish off a 4-under 67 and take the 54-hole lead. Asked if he felt the course would remain soft, as it was when he played, Mickelson said, "It seems like it".

As if to prove the point on Saturday, officials put the fun back in Quail Hollow, with 31 of 87 players posting scores in the 60s and more roars than this slice of North Carolina has seen since 2016, the last time the Wells Fargo was played at the venerable club before it underwent an intensive nip/tuck to prepare for the PGA.

The trio of Woods, McIlroy and Mickelson have combined for 23 major championships. He didn't miss from inside 15 feet Saturday, making all 17 of his attempts.

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