Springfield, August 14:
Phil Mickelson was drenched in perspiration before he hit his opening tee shot in temperatures
that hit 38 degrees Celsius on Saturday at the PGA Championship. Then came the real heat. Walking off the tee box, a cheer rang out from the 18th green as Thomas Bjorn got up-and-down for birdie to shoot 63, matching the record score for a major championship. In the group ahead, Mickelson could see Davis Love III birdie the first two holes on his way to a 68.
Mickelson lost command of his tee shots and his putting, and he avoided a major meltdown by steadying himself for a 2-over 72 that left him tied with Love going into the final round at Baltusrol. They were at 6-under 204. Bjornâ€™s record-tying round gave him a chance for redemption in a major. Defending champion Vijay Singh made 17 straight pars before a birdie on the 18th for a 69, leaving him two shots behind. And even Tiger Woods could no longer be ruled out after cutting his 12-shot deficit in half with a 66.
Mickelson missed short birdie putts on the final two holes, both par 5s, his last chance to keep the lead to himself ending with a 6-foot attempt that caused him to buckle his knees when the ball grazed the edge of the cup. Bjorn became the 20th player to shoot 63 in a major, and the first since Singh in the 2003 US Open. It was the third 63 at Baltusrol, where Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf did it in the 1980 US Open. Singh was joined at 206 by former PGA champion Steve Elkington (68), Pat Perez (67) and Stuart Appleby (69).