East Lothian, Scotland (Sports Network) - Hunter Mahan didn't have much of a record at the British Open before this week, but he fought his way into contention after 54 holes.
Mahan carded a 3-under 68 to match the low round of the day, and was the first player in the clubhouse in red figures. He finished three rounds at 1-under- par 212.
The 31-year-old, who has two World Golf Championships to his credit, has just one top-10 finish in eight previous British Open starts. He shared sixth in 2007 at Carnoustie, thanks in part to a final-round 65, his lowest score in an Open Championship.
Mahan got off to a quick start with birdies at one and two. He bogeyed the fourth after making birdie there the first two days. After four pars in a row, Mahan birdied the ninth to make the turn at even-par.
Around the turn, Mahan stumbled to a bogey on No. 13. He bounced back with a birdie at 15, then got into red figures with a birdie at 17. Mahan parred the last to end at minus-1.
"I hit a lot of good quality shots and the putter was obviously very strong, making a bomb on two and a bunch of key putts coming in. It was a total team effort by my game today, for sure," Mahan said.
LATE STRUGGLES COST MICKELSON
Phil Mickelson's search for a first British Open title may continue as he carded his second straight over-par round on Saturday.
Last week's Scottish Open winner carried lots of momentum into the Open championship and he opened with a 2-under 69. But he has followed with rounds of 74 and 72 to end 54 holes at 2-over-par 215.
"I have to play a really good round. If I can shoot something in the 60s, I think that will be enough," said Mickelson, who predicted in a TV interview that the winning score would be even par and 1-over par would be a playoff.
Mickelson is five off the pace heading to the final round, and their are eight players ahead of him on the leaderboard.
* This was the sixth straight time Westwood has posted a better score than Woods when the two have been paired together in a major championship.
* Pace of play was a big issue in round three. Both of the final two groups were put on the clock at different times in the first 12 holes, while Hideki Matsuyama was given a 1-stroke penalty for two bad times.
* Sergio Garcia was tied for 24th when he walked off the course on Saturday, but finished in a share of 11th when all was said and done.
* There were 12 under-par rounds on Saturday to raise the total to 43 for the week.
* On the other end of the spectrum, there were five rounds in the 80s on Saturday to raise the total to 33 for the week.
* The par-3 fourth was the hardest hole in the third round as it averaged 3.64 strokes. Through three rounds, the fourth has been the most difficult hole as players have averaged 3.40 strokes.
* The par-5 ninth was the easiest for the second straight round as it averaged 4.44 shots in round three. The ninth has also been the easiest over the first three rounds, as players have needed only 4.73 shots on average.