Darren Clarke is doggedly hanging on to his two-shot lead over Phil Mickelson as the Championship enters the critical final nine holes.
Mickelson was out in 30, five under, and picked up another birdie at the 10th after an immaculate short-iron approach. At six under he closed within one shot of Clarke at that point and was relentlessly hunting down the leader until an uncharacteristic miss from short range at the short 11th. Clarke’s lead was back to two when he safely completed the front nine in 33.
The American left-hander made a great save at the 12th where he was bunkered off the tee 70 yards short of the green. He reached the fringe with his recovery and chipped stone dead.
Anthony Kim has joined the party with a birdie at the 12th. That put him at two under in company with Rickie Fowler who is still hunting his first birdie of the day.
Popular Spaniard, the 47-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez, has slipped right out of contention. A triple-bogey seven at the fourth hole, three other dropped shots and one birdie all added up to an outward five-over 40.