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Mickelson gives reason to cheer

Cheered on by tens of thousands who consider him their hometown hero, Phil Mickelson forged a four-shot lead over Kevin Na in yesterday's third round of the FBR Open, a giant party in Scottsdale, Ariz., that happens to have a golf tournament going through it.

Mickelson, who tied the Tournament Players Club course record Friday with an 11-under-par 60, shot a 66 -- with birdies on the final two holes -- for a 14-under 199 total.

"It was a fun round," said Mickelson, who played at Arizona State and formerly lived in Scottsdale. "I mean, there's a lot of people out there. It was pretty interesting. It felt like I shot over par because of yesterday, but it was good enough to get in the lead."

Mickelson leads going into a final round for the first time since last year's Masters, and then he was tied with Chris DiMarco.

Na, at 21 the youngest player on the PGA Tour, began the day tied for the lead with Mickelson, and still was even through No. 14. But his second shot went into the water on the 15th hole, then he missed a short putt to save par.

"From there, that crowd pulling for Phil so much and that little bit of -- what do you call it? -- misstep kind of shook me up a little bit," Na said, "and affected me on the last couple of holes."

Na bogeyed the 16th and finished with a 70. Four players were tied for third at 9 under: K.J. Choi, Harrison Frazar, Kenny Perry, and Steve Flesch. Mark Calcavecchia and David Toms were 8 under.

The event, formerly the Phoenix Open, draws the biggest crowd of any PGA tournament. An estimated 165,000 people came on a perfect, sun-baked day -- a single-day record for a tournament that draws about a half-million. Said Mickelson, "Awesome, isn't it?"

European -- Last year, Ernie Els took an eight-shot lead into the final round of the Heineken Classic and barely held on for his third straight win at Royal Melbourne. This year, he is trailing as he aims to become the fifth player to win a tournament four years in a row. Els shot a 5-under 66 and, at 11-under 202, is three strokes behind leader Nick O'Hern (63). European LPGA -- Song Bo-bae held off Charlotta Sorenstam for her first Tour victory, shooting a 3-over 75 for a one-shot win in the Samsung Ladies Masters in Singapore. The 18-year-old from South Korea finished at 10-under 206.Champions -- Returning from a long layoff following back surgery, Jack Nicklaus won 11 straight skins and a career-high $340,000 in a runaway victory at Wailea, Hawaii, in the Champions Skins Game. Nicklaus, 65, who hadn't played a competitive round since June and rode on a cart for much of the round because of a strained hamstring, outplayed 2004 Champions Tour Player of the Year Craig Stadler (five skins, $180,000), defending champ Tom Watson (two, $80,000), and Arnold Palmer (no skins for third time in four years).

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