ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Phil Mickelson surged up the leaderboard with a 9-under 63 to put himself in second place after the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, while Rory McIlroy was hit with a two-shot penalty for a rules infraction that dropped him into a tie for fourth.
Mickelson barely made the cut but had the best round of the day with nine birdies and an eagle coupled with two bogeys to sit two shots behind leader Craig Lee of Scotland. Lee shot a 69 for a 12-under 204 total.
"I just love the fact I am in contention and have an opportunity in my first tournament of the year here in Abu Dhabi," Mickelson said. "The biggest thing for me is that each day as the tournament has progressed I have felt a lot sharper and sharper."
McIlroy thought he was alone in second place a stroke behind Lee after finishing his round, but tournament officials then ruled that he had taken a drop incorrectly on the second hole and adjusted his score to a double-bogey 7. That gave him a 70 for the round to sit one stroke behind Mickelson and Gaganjeet Bhullar of India (66).
McIlroy had to take relief on the second hole when his ball ended up on a gallery crosswalk and went on to par the hole, but was later told by the caddy of playing partner Ricardo Gonzalez that he had his left foot on the white line marking the drop area, meaning he had not taken "full relief" according to the rules.
Tournament officials reviewed the situation after McIlroy completed his round, with the golfer going back to the spot to show where he stood when he took the shot.
Mickelson shot his lowest score since a 63 on the opening day of the Deutsche Bank Championship in September, falling one shot short of the Abu Dhabi course record.
At La Quinta, Calif., Patrick Reed shot a 9-under 63 to break the PGA Tour record for relation to par for the first 54 holes. He is 27 under and leads by seven strokes entering today's final round.
Playing over a pond as still as the plastic swans PGA West uses to scare away geese, Reed birdied his final hole on the Nicklaus Private Course, hitting a wedge to 2 feet on the par-4 ninth. He also had an eagle, eight birdies and a bogey.
The 23-year-old Reed broke the mark of 25 under set by Gay Brewer in the 1967 Pensacola Open and matched by Ernie Els in the 2003 Tournament of Champions, Steve Stricker in the 2010 John Deere Classic and Pat Perez in the 2009 La Quinta event. Reed was one off Stricker's stroke record of 188 set on a par-71 course.
The Wyndham Championship winner in August, Reed opened Thursday on the Arnold Palmer Private Course and played La Quinta Country Club on Friday. He has played the 11 par 5s in 11 under, the 28 par 4s in 12 under and the 13 par 3s in 4 under.
Charley Hoffman and Brendon Todd were tied for second. Hoffman, the 2007 winner, had a 66 on the Palmer course.