Waste Management Phoenix open, Phil the People Person. February 03 2013

Man of the people Phil Mickelson / Martin / Getty Images Phil Mickelson drew the loudest cheers from the biggest crowd in golf history on Saturday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, on the TPC Scottsdale course. Phil nearly aced the par-3 16th, hitting a 9-iron to within a foot of the hole, to set up a birdie on the rowdy stadium hole packed with nearly 20,000 screaming fans, on his way to a -7 under par third round of 64, and to lead the tournament at -24 under par. Of his nine iron into the 16th Phil calmly stated; "What's funny about that is 172 yards is a very tough 9-iron for me to get there, but I immediately take 5 yards off and in my head I had 167. The reason is you always have a little bit of adrenaline here, and the ball goes a little bit longer on 16. I played for a 167-yard shot and tried to hit just a comfortable or stock 9-iron, and the ball ended up flying that far and released to the hole. Having played this course and that hole over the years and knowing what your body does and how to adjust to it has helped me, and certainly it did today." Brandt Snedeker is in second place, Brandt had a third round of -6 under par 65, to be six shots behind Phil at -18 under par for the tournament. Phil is aware of Brandt's capabilities and is looking to just keep pace with him tomorrow to cruise home to a wire to wire victory; "I know how good Snedeker is and how hot he can get with a putter, he can make birdie from just about anywhere. He's going to make a run tomorrow. I, hopefully, will be able to keep pace. To me, the wire-to-wire isn't that important except for now I'm three rounds and the fourth one is kind of the more important one. It would be an important thing because it's meant so much to me over my career having won this tournament, coming back as a past champion, and winning here in the town that has meant so much to me, to Amy and I, where we met, had our first two kids, went to college. It's a special place." Brandt thinks Phil is playing unbelievable golf; " Phil is playing pretty unbelievable, I will have to go at some pins and make some putts early and be more aggressive than I probably normally would be." Padraig Harrington and Ryan Moore are tied in third place at -16 under par, eight strokes off the pace, Padraig is still happy with his game though; "I feel like I'm in a good place with the game." Padraig had some fun out there on the sixteenth, kicking footballs into the crowd; "I did not want to screw up the first one along the ground, for sure, I did want to get it airborne a little bit of distance. I found when I punted it, the first three or four, I hooked them quite a bit, and then the last one, I actually made sweet contact and kicked it over the stand, actually cleared the whole thing." Looks like it will be the crowd favorite Phil Mickelson lifting the trophy tomorrow, good luck Phil.