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Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney are up by one shot at Quail Hollow

Nick Watney is tied with Phil Mickelson for the lead going into the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C.
(Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney wound up tied for the lead Saturday in the Wells Fargo Championship, minus much separation from the rest of the field.

Mickelson hit a shot out-of-bounds on the 15th hole and hit another shot that struck a spectator in the head, costing him three shots over the last four holes at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., in his round of one-over 73. Watney hit a semi-shank with a six-iron on the par-three 17th, took double bogey and had to settle for a 71.

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It felt like a small consolation that they were tied at eight-under 208, one shot ahead of George McNeill, who had his share of trouble down the stretch for a 72.

Instead of pulling away from the pack, their mistakes in a wild final hour allowed a dozen players to get within three shots of the lead.

One of them was Rory McIlroy, who shot 73 and missed seven putts from the 5-foot range or closer, which was no way to celebrate his 24th birthday. McIlroy ranked 82nd out of the 83 players who made the 36-hole cut in the key putting statistic, yet he still goes into the final round with a good chance for his first win of the year.

Two-time champion Cristie Kerr shot a five-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead over second-ranked Stacy Lewis and Suzann Pettersen after the third round of the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.

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Kerr, the only two-time winner at the River Course, made six birdies to reach 10-under 203. She took command on a day when seven players shared the lead at one point or another, then faltered.

Lewis shot a 69, and Pettersen, the 2007 champion, had a 68. Angela Stanford was fourth after a 70, and Ilhee Lee (69) was fifth.

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Ariya Jutanugarn, the 17-year-old Thai player who led after each of the first two rounds, had three bogeys and a birdie on her first four holes and fought a balky putter for a 73 that left her five shots back.

Brett Rumford of Australia shot a three-under 69 to lead by one stroke after the third round of the China Open at Tianjin.

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Conditions were windy on the Binhai Lake Golf Club course as Rumford moved to 12 under, one stroke ahead of Mikko Ilonen (73). The Finn led by three shots at the halfway mark. Sixteen-year-old Dou Zecheng of China trailed by 10 strokes after a 72.

Ernie Els shot a four-under 68 to leave the South African star one stroke behind leader Daisuke Kataoka of Japan after three rounds of the Indonesian Masters in Jakarta.

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Kataoka had a 66 for a total of 11-under 205 at Royale Jakarta Golf Club. Els is tied for second at 206 with Australia’s Bernd Wiesberger, who shot a 67.

ETC.

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Smith wins Nationwide race at Talladega

Regan Smith won the crash-filled Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway when NASCAR said he was leading at the final caution flag Saturday night.

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The race was delayed three hours by rain and slowed by several cautions, and NASCAR cut the distance by 10 laps as darkness closed in on the Alabama track. Then Joey Coulter brought out a caution and NASCAR decided to make one attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.

At least 10 cars were jockeying for position in packs of two on the final lap when Brian Vickers was spun hard into the outside wall. Smith, Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne raced three-wide to the finish line and Kahne crossed it first.

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But NASCAR decided Smith was leading when the caution came out and was the winner.

American Ryan Hunter-Reay set a track record to win the pole position for IndyCar’s Sao Paulo 300.

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The defending IndyCar Series champion was timed in 1 minute 20.430 seconds for a lap at the Anhembi street track. He was 0.307 seconds ahead of Venezuela’s EJ Viso and 0.461 in front of Scotland’s Dario Franchitti.

Liaison beat Kettle Corn by 11/2 lengths to win the $150,250 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a 1-3 finish.

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Ridden by Martin Garcia, Liaison ran 11/16 miles on the Cushion Track in 1:42.79 and paid $7.80, $4 and $2.80.

Baffert was in California on Saturday after none of his 3-year-old colts made it to the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby.

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Tommy Haas will play defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in an all-German final at the BMW Open in Munich, Germany, on Sunday.

The third-seeded Haas defeated Ivan Dodig of Croatia, 6-4, 6-3, on Saturday, while Kohlschreiber edged compatriot Daniel Brands, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (5), to set up the first all-German title match in Munich in 48 years.

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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Spain’s Carla Suarez, 7-5, 6-2, to win the Portugal Open in Oeiras.

The 21-year-old Russian saved six of seven break points and overcame five double-faults to win her fifth career title and second of the year. In the men’s event, top-seeded David Ferrer beat Andreas Seppi, 6-1, 6-4. He’ll play second-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka in Sunday’s final after the Swiss player defeated Pablo Carreno-Busta, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

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Seventh-seeded Sara Errani advanced to the second round of the Madrid Open, beating Urszula Radwanska of Poland, 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday.

Also, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia defeated Sloane Stephens of the U.S., 6-3, 7-5, Germany’s Julia Goerges downed Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski, 6-4, 6-1,and Lourdes Dominguez-Lino of Spain beat Simona Halep of Romania, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

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Wladimir Klitschko stopped Francesco Pianeta in the sixth round Saturday night in Mannheim, Germany, to retain the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles.

The Ukrainian was never troubled by Pianeta, finishing off the previously unbeaten Italian southpaw with a right-left combination. Pianeta stayed down before attempting to continue, but there was no point in delaying the inevitable and referee Ernie Sharif ended the bout 2:52 into the round.

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Klitschko rocked Pianeta inside the first 30 seconds, knocked him to the canvas with a straight right down the middle in the fourth, and again with a left blow in the fifth.

Pianeta, who was spirited but clearly out of his depth, dropped to 28-1-1, while the 37-year-old Klitschko improved to 60-3 after his 52nd knockout.

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The United States rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to beat Austria, 5-3, in its opening game at the ice hockey world championship in Helsinki.

Russia began the defense of its title with a 6-0 win over Latvia.

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David Moss began the Americans’ comeback off a rebound in the first period, and defenseman Erik Johnson opened and closed the second period with power-play goals. In between, Tim Stapleton and Aaron Palushaj also scored.

Sweden came back after losing to Switzerland the previous day and held off the Czech Republic, 2-1, in Stockholm. Also, Finland beat Slovakia, 2-0, for its second win, Norway defeated newcomer Slovenia, 3-1, and Canada topped Denmark, 3-1.


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