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AS IT STANDS -7 Mickelson -6 Koepka; -5 Oosthuizen; -4 Streelman; -3 Bezuidenhout, Grace; -2 DeChambeau, Niemann, Woodland SELECTED OTHERS E Spieth; +1 Laird, Matsuyama; +4 MacIntyre; +5 McIlroy

Whatever plans you’ve got for Sunday, cancel them. Eighteen holes are all that stand between Phil Mickelson and golf history. 

The five-time major champion takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island as he bids to become the oldest men’s major champion in history. 

The record is currently held by Julius Boros, who was 48 years, four months and eighteen days when he won the 1968 US PGA.

Just under a month shy of his 51st birthday, Mickelson will obliterate that mark if he can convert his slender advantage into a victory later today.

• US PGA : Final round tee times in full

• Bob Mac determined to contend in majors

• WATCH: Van Rooyen has epic meltdown

Looking to take a shredder to the fairytale is his nearest challenger Brooks Koepka. A winner of the Wanamaker Trophy in 2018 and 2019, Koepka was only six-weeks-old when Mickelson played in a major for the first time. On Sunday, he will play alongside him in the final group as he bids to match the left-hander’s haul of five major titles. 

The 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen is a further shot adrift, with Kevin Streelman, bidding to win his first major, on four-under. 

Only five shots, in fact, separate the top nine players on the leaderboard – and the man they’re all looking up at is a two-time Champions Tour winner. 

The oldest 54-hole leader in the history of the championship, Mickelson is also only the sixth man since 1900 to lead a major through three rounds at the age of 50 or older, and the first since Tom Watson at the 2009 Open.

Should he win, he would also become just the third player to win on the PGA Tour after winning on the over-50s’ circuit. 

His advantage could have been more substantial. After a birdie at the tenth on Saturday, he led the way by five shots. A birdie putt at 11 slid by before a bogey at the 12th was followed by a double at 13 after he found the water off the tee. However, he rallied well to par his way in, setting up a date with destiny tomorrow.

• Record prize money announced for US PGA

“I think that, because I feel or believe that I’m playing really well and I have an opportunity to contend for a major championship on Sunday and I’m having so much fun, it’s easier to stay in the present and not get ahead of myself,” said Mickelson.

“I think certainly my brother [Tim, also his caddie] has played a big part in kind of keeping me present and in the moment and not letting a couple of bad swings affect me here or there.”

Interestingly, at 115th in the world, Mickelson would also be the lowest-ranked player to win a major since Shaun Micheel at the 2003 US PGA.

Koepka, meantime, has a chance to win his fifth major. Should he do it, only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus would have got to that mark at a younger age in the modern era. 

To do so, he’s clear on what he needs to improve.

• The incredible story of the Wanamaker Trophy

• WATCH: Pro lands tee shot in rubbish bin

“That was the worst putting performance I think I’ve ever had in my career,” said the 31-old-year. “It can’t get much worse. I thought 70 was about the highest I could have shot today.

“I left a lot out there but I’ve got a chance to win. That’s all I wanted to do today. Not give back any shots and be there tomorrow with a chance, and I’ve got that.”

The stage is set for another thrilling major Sunday. 

History waits in the wings. 

Drama is as good as guaranteed.

Seriously. Cancel your plans.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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