PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Paul Casey quietly put together another solid round Saturday for a five-under-par 67 that gave him a three-shot lead over Phil Mickelson going into the final day of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Casey had four birdies over his last 10 holes at Spyglass Hill in a mix of rain, sun and wind. He finished at 15-under 200, the fourth time on the tour had he has led going into the final round.
“I am having a blast,” Casey said.
Mickelson was part of the celebrity rotation at Pebble Beach and put on a show on the back nine, stuffing a wedge to 3 feet on No. 13, and following with a 4-iron to 4 feet on the par-5 14th hole for eagle. He also made a tough save on the par-3 17th and shot a two-under 70, giving him a good chance to match Mark O’Meara’s record of five Pebble Beach titles.
Casey and Mickelson have done their best with so many shots to back pins, typically set to the highest point on the three courses to avoid any saturation from the hit-and-miss rain.
“The little half-shots to get back to some of these pins, a lot of guys struggle with and it’s been a strength of my game,” Mickelson said. “So I’ve been able to make a few more birdies on some of these holes.”
The weather again was hit and miss. The round started under a blue sky with patches of clouds that soon took aim at the Monterey Peninsula, dropped temperatures by some 10 degrees and brought enough rain to make it tougher than usual.
But that wasn’t what stopped Jordan Spieth.
He was tied for the lead after a birdie on the par-3 fifth hole and remained in range until he pulled his tee shot so badly on the 13th hole that he did not know where it was until it was spotted 140 yards behind where he was looking, under a cluster of trees. He wound up making double bogey. After a three-putt bogey on the 17th, Spieth pulled his tee shot into the ocean on the 18th hole for another double bogey and a 74. He went from being in the mix to eight shots behind.
“It was going to bite me at some point,” Spieth said. “I didn’t necessarily deserve to be a couple under par at the time, and so it ended up kind of haunting me there.”
Leads after 54 holes have not been friendly to Casey, who is 0-3 with the lead going into the final round on the tour. On Sunday, he will be trying to fend off Mickelson, who three weeks ago finished one shot behind in the Desert Classic. Mickelson had consecutive bogeys as the wind and rain were at its worst along the coastal holes of Nos. 9 and 10, but then recovered brilliantly.
The wind was strong enough off the Pacific that he used a 4-iron on his approach at the 14th, and it never left the flag, leaving a tap-in eagle.
“I thought anything in the 60s was going to be a heck of a round, and I was one shy,” Mickelson said. “But I’ve got a good chance going into tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”