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“If I flew it another 5 feet, it was going to be firm, so if I flew it 5 more feet and brought it in higher, I thought it would have raced 15 feet by,” he said.

He ended both nines by missing par putts inside 5 feet, but the eagle atoned for that. Wary of how the greens were earlier in the round, Mickelson said he couldn’t afford his wedge on No. 8 to go long, so he played it out to the right with side spin, and it spun back into the hole.

It added to a decent score, one that kept him atop the leaderboard for the third straight round, dating to the 64 that Mickelson shot in the final round Sunday to win at Pebble Beach.

“I put myself in contention heading into the weekend, which is what my initial goal was,” Mickelson said. “And so with 36 holes to go, I’m right in the thick of it. I’ve got to go out and shoot some low scores, because they’re out there. But I gave myself an opportunity.”

Tim Clark, meanwhile, was headed home after an 82 and a smile. It was his first tournament since The Players Championship because of elbow surgery he had five months ago.

“I felt pretty good, to be honest,” Clark said. “I’m quite surprised with how my body actually felt. I wasn’t able to score at all. In terms of the arm, and how the body felt, I was quite encouraged.

“The fact I could get through 18 holes without having any pain is quite nice.”