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Mickelson forges one-shot lead in Nissan

Harrington starts final round 1 back

Phil Mickelson, watching his approach on 12, had three bogeys on the back nine to keep him from running away. Phil Mickelson, watching his approach on 12, had three bogeys on the back nine to keep him from running away. (REUTERS)

Phil Mickelson looked unbeatable until a 30-inch putt spun around the rim of the cup, giving him the first of three bogeys on the back nine that cost him a cushion, but ultimately not the lead, in the Nissan Open yesterday at Los Angeles.

Mickelson got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 17th and shot 2-under-par 69 in the steamy sunshine at Riviera, giving him a one-shot lead over Padraig Harrington (70) as he tries to win for the second straight week.

"I was tied for the lead Friday. I've got a one-shot lead today. So, it's getting better," said Mickelson, who was at 13-under 200. "It wasn't the lead I wanted, but it's getting better."

Mickelson will be in the final group with Harrington and Rich Beem, who delivered the theatrics by making a hole-in-one on the 14th hole that sent him leaping atop the red sports car he won for his ace. More than getting a new car, Beem suddenly has a chance at his first title since the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

Beem shot the best round of the day, a 65, and was only two shots behind.

Former Nissan Open champion Robert Allenby (68) and Charles Howell (69) were another shot behind, setting up a typical final round off Sunset Boulevard in which several players have a chance.

That's due to Mickelson, who one minute looked as though he might run away from the field, and in a span of five holes came charging right back with a couple of missed putts and one wild swing on the par-3 16th.

"Myself and Phil basically brought a lot of people back into the tournament," Harrington said. "Whoever plays the best tomorrow will probably win the tournament. But it's a half-dozen guys instead of two."

Indeed, a half-dozen players were right behind them, which includes Ernie Els (67), Jim Furyk (67), and Sergio Garcia (69) only four shots behind at 9 under. LPGA -- Paula Creamer won the season-opening SBS Open at Kahuku, Hawaii, for her first victory since 2005, handling the whipping wind to hold off Julieta Granada by a stroke.

The 20-year-old Creamer closed with a 2-under 70 for a 9-under 207 total and earned $165,000 for her third Tour title.

Granada, who won the season-ending ADT Championship, shot a 69.

Karrie Webb closed with a 70 to finish third at 6 under.

Champions -- Andy Bean shot a 4-under 67 in cold and windy conditions for a share of the lead with Wayne Levi in the suspended second round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in Lutz, Fla.

Levi shot a 69, finishing in near-darkness, to match Bean at 4-under 138 on the TPC Tampa Bay. Levi holed a pitching wedge from 118 yards for eagle on the par-4 10th, his first hole of the day. The ball bounced once, skipped, then spun back in.

First-round leader David Eger (72) was a stroke back, and Tom Wargo (72) followed at 2 under.

European -- Frankie Minoza topped the leaderboard at 8 under with a hole to play in the third round of the Indonesian Open in Jakarta before monsoon storms stopped play for the third consecutive day.

Nationwide -- Scott Sterling and David Lutterus shot 6-under 66s and Peter Senior had a 68 to share a one-stroke lead going into the final round of the Jacob's Creek Open in Adelaide, Australia. The three are at 11-under 205.