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Phil Mickelson
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The Roundup

Phil's six appeal

by Dave Tindall
Updated On: February 8, 2020, 7:09 pm ET

Recap of the day

Pebble Beach: It was the Phil Mickelson show at Pebble with outrageous bunker shots, a couple of hole-outs and just 22 putts. It all added up to 67 and put him just one off the lead. Kevin Streelman hit 68 to move up to T4.

Spyglass Hill: After shooting 14-under over the first two days, how would two-shot halfway leader Nick Taylor fare on the toughest course? The answer was pretty good. A slow start but an inward 32 secured a 3-under 69 and the 54-hole lead. Playing the same rotation as Taylor, Jason Day posted 70 to end three back. 

Monterey Peninsula: Matt Every nudged up four spots to T4 with a 68 but could anyone spring from the pack with a low one on the easiest course? There were a couple: Peter Malnati fired 66 to advance 18 spots to solo sixth while Matt Jones surged 38 places to T7 with a 65.

Notes: Has there been a preferred rotation? Not really. Of the top 11 players after round three, four were in action at Spyglass today, four at Pebble and three at Monterey Peninsula.

 

Leaderboard: -17 Nick Taylor, -16 Phil Mickelson, -14 Jason Day, -11 Matt Every, Kevin Streelman, -10 Peter Malnati

Notables: -9 Dustin Johnson, -8 Patrick Cantlay, -7 Viktor Hovland, -6 Paul Casey, -3 Jordan Spieth.

Missed cut: -1 Brandt Snedeker, Adam Hadwin, Evs Patrick Rodgers, Branden Grace, +3 Graeme McDowell, +4 Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Revised outright betting

6/4 Mickelson, 15/8 Taylor, 3/1 Day, 33/1 Streelman.

The betting suggests this is now a three-horse race.

 

Sunday weather forecast

It looks a similar day to Saturday at Pebble, with sunshine, temperatures in the mid-to-high 50s and the wind picking up to 15-20mph as the afternoon goes on.

 

Leaders at 54 holes

Nick Taylor (68) – After hitting 30 greens the first two days, his GIR count dropped to 13 at Spyglass today. A second eagle of the week helped and the putter is bringing plenty to the party too.

Jason Day (70) – A 2-under at Spyglass for the Aussie. Hit the dancefloor only 11 times but limited the damage to just two bogeys. That's his hard day out of the way.

Phil Mickelson (67) – Phil puts his improved play last week at Saudi and here down to "better mental focus". A sixth title here awaits but can he walk off with such a score if he only hits half the greens at Pebble again in round four? Probably, yes! Described one of his chip-ins today as "sexy".

 

Fate of the favorites

Dustin Johnson has had some great days at Pebble but it was all rather flat today as an even-par 72 left him at 9-under and now eight back. It was the same story for Patrick Cantlay (72 at Pebble) and Paul Casey (73 at Pebble{ as the three favorites shot a combined 1-over on the host course. Cantlay is now nine off the pace, with Casey 11 back.

 

Road to victory at Pebble Beach

2019 Phil Mickelson – R1: 3rd, R2: 1st, R3: 2nd
2018 Ted Potter, Jr. – R1: 24th, R2: 35th, R3: 1st
2017 Jordan Spieth – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2016 Vaughn Taylor – R1: 48th, R2: 18th, R3: 8th
2015 Brandt Snedeker – R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 2nd

Notes: After all three courses on the rotation are completed, a clearer picture obviously starts to emerge. Since 2001, every winner has been in the top eight with the final lap at Pebble still to play. In terms of shots back, twice in the last eight years we've seen players come from six behind after 54 holes. Phil did it in 2013 and Taylor repeated the feat in 2016. Hope then for those at -11.

 

Fate of the 54-hole leaders at Pebble Beach – where did they finish?

2019 Paul Casey 2nd
2018 Ted Potter, Jr. 1st. Dustin Johnson 2nd
2017 Jordan Spieth 1st
2016 Phil Mickelson 2nd
2015 Jim Furyk 7th

Notes: Third-round leaders really do have a strong record at Pebble with over 40% since 1997 converting their advantage into silverware. And, if not winning, most go close with every 54-hole leader since 2000, bar Furyk in 2015, going on to finish in the top five.

 

Focus on – Leaders at Pebble

Of course, everyone who made the cut has already had one lap of host course Pebble Beach. Here's how the leaders fared there:

Nick Taylor (33-33=66)
Jason Day (33-31=64)
Phil Mickelson (33-34=67)
Matt Every (33-37=70)
Kevin Streelman (31-37=68)
Peter Malnati (35-35=70)

Notes: Perhaps the above gives us even more reason to think this is now a three-horse race.

 

Focus on – Nick Taylor

The 31-year-old from Winnipeg, Canada has a PGA TOUR win to his name (2014 Sanderson Farms) and came into this week with a 3-for-5 record in this event, including T10 in 2017. In that sense, he fits the profile of a potential Pebble winner as each of the last ten winners had previously recorded a top 20 finish in the tournament (or at Pebble Beach in the US Open). What we don't know is how he handles a 54-hole lead as this is his first at this level. When winning the Sanderson Farms, Taylor played the role of chaser, starting the last day in fifth and four back. How will he fare with a target on his back?

 

Focus on – Phil Mickelson

So where was Phil after 54 holes when he won his other five Pebble titles?

2019 - 2nd (three back)
2012 - 4th (six back)
2007 - joint-leader
2005 - seven-shot leader
1998 - tournament played over 54 holes

Notes: He shot a closing 65 to win last year and a 64 in round four to take the silverware by two in 2012.

Dave Tindall
Dave Tindall is former golf editor at Sky Sports.com in the UK and has been writing betting previews for the European Tour since 1997. He can be reached via e-mail on tindall_david@hotmail.com and on Twitter @davetindallgolf.