Charlotte, N.C. • Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney wound up tied for the lead Saturday in the Wells Fargo Championship, minus the separation from the rest of the field.
Mickelson hit a shot out of bounds on the 15th hole and hit another shot that struck a spectator in the head, costing him three shots over the last four holes at Quail Hollow in his round of 1-over 73. Watney hit a semi-shank with a 6-iron on the par-3 17th, took double bogey and had to settle for a 71.
It felt like a small consolation that they were tied at 8-under 208, one shot ahead of George McNeill, who had his share of trouble down the stretch for a 72.
"I can't remember the last time I did that in a tournament, so it was a bit unsettling," Watney said about his shank. "The big picture? I'm tied for the lead, and I would have taken that on Thursday morning."
Instead of pulling away from the pack, their mistakes in a wild final hour allowed a dozen players to get within three shots of the lead.
One of them was Rory McIlroy, who shot 73 and missed seven putts from the 5-foot range or closer, which was no way to celebrate his 24th birthday. McIlroy ranked 82nd out of the 83 players who made the 36-hole cut in the key putting statistic, yet he still goes into the final round with a good chance for his first win of the year.
Two-time champion Cristie Kerr shot a 5-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over second-ranked Stacy Lewis and Suzann Pettersen after the third round of the LPGA Tour's Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.
Kerr, the only two-time winner at the River Course, made six birdies to reach 10-under 203. She took command on a day when seven players shared the lead at one point or another, then faltered.
Lewis shot a 69, and Pettersen, the 2007 champion, had a 68.
Gene Sauers chipped in for birdie on the par-4 17th a day after making a double bogey on the hole, and finished with a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.
Sauers hit into the water on the 17th hole Friday, but atoned for the mistake Saturday with a 25-yard chip. He had an 8-under 136 total at The Woodlands Country Club in Texas.
Wells Fargo Championship
Nick Watney -8
Phil Mickelson -8
George McNeill -7
Rory McIlroy -5
Daniel Summerhays -1