Phil Mickelson found the trick to playing the revamped South Course at Torrey Pines and left himself one round away from winning on a course that once felt like home.
Going against his nature, Mickelson played it safe Saturday and wound up with a 4-under 68 to share the lead with Bill Haas going into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Haas missed a 4-foot putt par putt on the last hole for a 71.
It has been 10 years since Mickelson won his third title at Torrey Pines, a public course he grew up playing in San Diego.
"I love playing well in this tournament, and I've missed it," he said.
Tiger Woods, who has not lost a tournament at Torrey Pines since 2004, shot himself out of the tournament with careless mistakes. Woods had a 2-over 74, ending his streak of 21 rounds at par or better on the South Course in PGA Tour events. He was eight shots behind, his largest 54-hole deficit at Torrey since 2004.
Even with his longtime nemesis out of the way, Mickelson doesn't see an easy path to winning.
Haas is coming off a two-win season in 2010, and lost in a playoff a week ago at the Bob Hope Classic. He kept making enough birdies to keep in front of Mickelson, including a 25-foot putt on the 15th, the toughest on the course.
They were at 12-under 204.
Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson each made eagle on the par-5 18th to shoot 69 and were one shot behind. Another shot back was Anthony Kim, showing signs of turning his game. Kim escaped with only a bogey on the 15th after an adventure through the eucalyptus trees, and birdied the 18th for a 71.
PGA EUROPEAN: Paul Casey shot a 6-under 66 and Peter Hanson had a 67 to share the third-round lead in the Volvo Champions in Riffa, Bahrain.
Casey had a bogey-free round and Hanson dropped one shot - on his first hole. They shared the lead at 16-under 200, while Darren Clarke (67) and James Kingston (67) were a shot back.
The leading eight players were separated by only three strokes.