Phil Mickelson has been meditating his way around the gruelling Pete Dye designed Kiawah Island golf course. Dressed in black with matching dark shades the third round of the US PGA major tournament has been the Phil show. On course commentators have referred to his steely countenance as he turns back the clock to lead the second major of the 2021 season. Old man Mickelson golfing by the sea is a return to a familiar storyline not seen for a decade or more. The fans have been enjoying a narrative they know well. Mickelson leads after the third round at 7 under par, with Brooks Koepka one back at 6 under, and Louis Oosthuizen at 5 under par for the tournament.
Major Brooks Marching to a Stoic Drum
Major Brooks Koepka is on his heels and his grim visage is a more recent constant in the most important golf championships of the calendar year. Koepka has the stoic character for these mentally challenging tests of golf. His heavy-set muscular frame meets the agonistic nature of the challenge head on. The game of golf, as many of us know, can reduce adults to whining complainers in the face of unfair bounces and missed putts. The laconic Koepka lives for these brutal contests and wastes no energy on excuses for the Greek chorus we call the media.
South Africans Shining at the Kiawah Island Ocean Course
South African golfers have dotted the leader board at the 103rd PGA championship with these conditions seemingly suiting them. Louis Oosthuizen, the diminutive, gap toothed, silky putter, is hot on the heels of Phil and Brooks. Sweet swinging and very experienced under the gun this tournament could be his renaissance moment. Christiaan Bezuidenhout is another Seth African playing very well in this major test of golf. Meanwhile, old man Mickelson golfing by the sea is a salty ditty to remember as the story unfolds on Kiawah Island.
Kevin Streelman, whom the announcers would categorise as a journeyman golfer, is in contention at 4 under par. Bryson DeChambeau, the heavy hitter of professional golf, has failed to monster the Ocean course at Kiawah. However, he remains in the hunt for the final day at 2 under par, alongside Gary Woodland, Branden Grace, and Joaquin Niemann. Paul Casey, Sungjae Im, and Corey Conners are at 1 under par. Pre-tournament favourite Jordan Spieth is at even par along with Ricky Fowler, Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay, Keegan Bradley, Matt Fitzpatrick, Charley Hoffman, Jason Kokrak, Harry Higgs, and Richy Werenski.
Fabulous Phil is the fan favourite in this script and whether old man Mickelson can join the truly greats by becoming the oldest player to win a major will be revealed on Sunday. Jack did it at the Masters in 1986. I predict that there will be a lot of meditating tonight.