Daniel Berger regains 3-shot lead in St. Jude Classic

By The Sports Xchange  |  June 12, 2016 at 12:25 AM
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When Phil Mickelson pulled alongside and looked Daniel Berger in the eye on Saturday, Berger didn't blink.

Berger made a double-bogey 5 when he hit into the water on the 14th hole but rallied with two birdies down the stretch to regain a three-stroke lead over Mickelson, Steve Stricker and D.A. Points heading to the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn.

The 2015 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Berger posted a 69 and had a 54-hole total of 10-under 200.

"Sometimes, when things are going good and you are thinking positive, you can try things you might not usually do and they work out," said Berger, who has yet to win on the PGA Tour but was the only rookie last year to advance through the FedEx Cup playoffs to the Tour Championship.

"I'm having fun, so I will just go out there tomorrow and see what happens. I think my ball-striking was pretty good today, so I'm just going to work on my putting a little and that's it."

Mickelson, who will make his third bid for the Career Grand Slam next week in the U.S. Open at Oakmont, tied for the lead with a seven-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole but made his only bogey in a 68 on the next hole and chipped in from 18 feet for a closing par.

"I'm very close," said Mickelson, who has won 42 times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield. "It wasn't as good as yesterday, but I was able to hit some irons close and make some putts.

"I like the fact that I'm going out a few groups ahead of the leader tomorrow, because it's always tougher to follow with birdies if someone is making then up ahead of you."

Points, playing well ahead of the 36-hole leaders, sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to cap a bogey-free 64, and Stricker didn't have a blemish on his card in a 66.

Brooks Koepka bounced back from two bogeys late on the front nine with two birdies on the back and his 69 left him four shots behind in a tie for fifth with Seung-Yul Noh and Colt Knost, who both totaled 67.

Boo Weekley collected four birdies on the back nine in a 66 and was another stroke down in a tie for eighth with John Merrick and Harris English, who both came in at 67, and Brett Stegmaier, who had a second straight 69.

Dustin Johnson, the 2012 St. Jude champion and the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 6 in the world, struggled to a 73 after being with the leaders in the first two rounds and skidded to a tie for 20th, eight shots back.

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