Packed Leaderboard, Big Names Head Into Final Round in Houston

Phil Mickelson likes to play the week before The Masters so he can practice hitting the shots he will use at Augusta next week.  Coming into this week he said he didn’t know how well he would contend in the Shell Houston Open because the course was not set up to play the “Augusta” type shots.  So much for that thought process I guess.

Mickelson’s 63 tied the course record and put him in a tie at the top of the leaderboard with Scott Verplank.  The final round is shaping up to be a great showdown between some of the biggest names in the game.  Anthony Kim is two back of the lead and is looking to defend his title.  Kim is a very streaky player and if he can get something going he can go low on Sunday.  Steve Stricker is at 10-under, just three off the lead as well.  Padraig Harrington, Aaron Baddeley and Hunter Mahan are just a few of the other names within closing distance with a good round on Sunday.

The third round 63 by Phil is probably the best he has played all year.  Nobody really knows what we will get with Mickelson from day-to-day, but he sure seems to have found something but the big question is can he finish it tomorrow?  The course seems to be there for the taking, and if Phil can put together a 4 or 5-under round I think he can pick up his first win of 2011.

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