Mickelson aiming to regain rhythm


Phil Mickelson hopes to regain his best rhythm in the final round of The Open after conceding the lead to Henrik Stenson on Saturday.

Five-time major champion Mickelson, seeking to lift the Claret Jug for a second time, was one of only 13 players to break par in round three as gusting winds made life tricky at Royal Troon.

However, a scrappy 70 saw the left-hander lose top spot to playing partner Stenson, who shot 68 to claim a one-stroke advantage.

Mickelson remains five clear of Bill Haas in third and will be the chief threat to Stenson's hopes of claiming a first major title, having denied the Swede at Muirfield three years ago.

Yet the 46-year-old, who came agonisingly close to shooting the first round of 62 in a major on Thursday, believes he must raise his game on Sunday.

"I was off today. I didn't have my best stuff," Mickelson said after completing his third round.

"My rhythm was a little quick from the top as we started downwind. I was a little bit jumpy and my rhythm wasn't very good. I found a way to kind of settle in and hit some shots and then found ways to make pars on the times that I hit some poor shots.

"Today could have been a day that got away from me. Instead I shot under par and kept myself right in [the tournament] heading into the final round, so I'm proud of that.

"[Swing coach] Andrew Getson and I have some work to do to get my swing back to where it was the first couple days, and it shouldn't be too far off. I'd love to play the final round the way I did the first two and give myself a shot."

Mickelson demonstrated some impressive scrambling skills to keep a bogey off his card before finally giving up shots at 14 and 17, holes that Stenson birdied.

"The game of golf, it just comes and goes," added Mickelson. "The most important thing is to find a way to get the ball in the hole, and that's what I did.

"I found a way to get the ball in the hole, make pars, and that's all that I really care about. Some days it's easy and it looks pretty like the first couple. Some days it's hard and it looks terrible, like it did today. But either way I shot three rounds under par."