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Watney is on par with Mickelson

Phil Mickelson hits a three-under 69 but he could not shake Nick Watney, who finished off a 67 with a tough par save on the 18th hole to share the lead after three rounds of the CA Championship.

DORAL // Phil Mickelson hit a three-under 69 but he could not shake Nick Watney, who finished off a 67 with a tough par save on the 18th hole to share the lead after three rounds of the CA Championship on Saturday. They were at 16-under 200, with no one else closer than four shots. Mickelson had birdie putts inside 12ft on eight consecutive holes - including a tee shot on the par-three 13th that rolled against the flag stick and stopped a foot away - until a wild tee shot on the 17th hole led to bogey.

Watney, who won at San Diego a month ago, stayed in the game with two good bunker saves and a delicate chip to three feet after flirting with the water on the 18th hole. Tiger Woods was thrilled with how he hit the ball, disgusted with his putting, and had to settle for a 68 that left him nine shots behind. "The best I've hit it in a long time," Woods said. "Granted, I haven't played in a long time, but still."

This is his first strokeplay tournament since winning the US Open last summer. Woods had season-ending knee surgery a week later. The leg appears to be better than ever, but his putting left him cursing under his breath on a steamy afternoon in Miami. Jeev Milkha Singh of India (68) and Camilo Villegas of Colombia (69) were tied for third at 12-under 212, and the group another shot behind included Jim Furyk (69), Kenny Perry (71) and Alvaro Quiros, the Spaniard who had a 69.

* AP

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