CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
After all that, he’s still in the mix.
“I just couldn’t hole anything today,” McIlroy said. “I think when you miss a few putts on these greens, you sort of lose confidence in your stroke and then it’s just sort of hard to commit fully to what you want to do. If I want to hole some putts tomorrow, I need to do a better job of that.”
Mickelson was sailing right along after a 10-foot birdie putt on the 14th to reach 11-under for the outright lead. And it all changed so quickly. He pulled his tee shot on the par-5 15th well right of the fairway, just above a cart path. This 3-wood went straight instead of fading and went out-of-bounds.
“I got lucky on the tee shot that that didn’t go out-of-bounds, I missed it so bad,” Mickelson said. “But the second shot should not have been a problem. I probably pulled the wrong club. I hit it the second time with the driver to get it to cut. I should have done that the first time.”
In the group ahead of him, Watney faced about a 20-minute wait on the tee at the par-3 17th. When it was his turn to hit, Watney hit a semi-shank toward a hospitality tent that left nearly 80 yards short on the 207-yard hole. His next shot barely reached the green, and he three-putted for a double bogey.
Asked if he was more embarrassed or angry, Watney said, “A bit of both.”
“It’s a tough hole, and I’m sure guys hit shots they thought were good and it just hooked a little and went in the water and made double,” he said. “It just so happened that I’m playing really well and it was on TV, so that’s where the embarrassment comes from. But the other thing is you like to put as much distance as you can between you and the other guys, so a bit of anger and definitely some embarrassment.”