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England duo ahead in Perth

ENGLISH pair John Bickerton and Ross McGowan stormed to the top of a congested leaderboard after the third round of the Johnnie Walker Classic yesterday.

Bickerton, 39, birdied six of the last 12 two holes in Perth to card a six-under 66 while McGowan, 26, made five birdies on the back nine for a 65 to head into today's final round tied for the lead at 14-under 202.

The two Britons finished two strokes clear of four players, Chile's Felipe Aguilar (68), Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin (66), Australia's Terry Pilkadaris (68) and New Zealand amateur Danny Lee (69).

Five players, including first round leader Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands, were a shot back at 11-under and among 20 players within five shots of Bickerton and McGowan.

Joint overnight leader, Ireland's Damien McGrane, slipped back to joint 12th after a 72, while American Anthony Kang dropped to 46th after a 77, ending his streak of five straight rounds in the 60s that culminated in his victory at last week's Malaysian Open.

American world No. 11 Anthony Kim also slipped out of contention with a quadruple-bogey nine on the third hole before finishing nine shots back

At Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, Phil Mickelson paid the penalty for some wayward driving in the second round of the Northern Trust Open on Friday as fellow American Scott McCarron edged two strokes clear.

Left-hander Mickelson, the defending champion, hit only five fairways out of 14 on his way to a one-over-par 72 at Riviera Country Club, sliding back into a six-way tie for fourth place.

Having surged a stroke in front with a blistering 63 in the opening round and then two ahead after eagling the first, Mickelson piled up four bogeys and a birdie for a seven-under total of 135.

That left him three shots behind McCarron, who rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt at the par-four last for a 68.

Americans Steve Stricker (66) and Tommy Armour III (67) were tied for second at eight-under.

Mickelson ended the day level with Aussie Geoff Ogilvy (67), South Korean K.J. Choi (69), American Pat Perez (66), South African Rory Sabbatini (67) and Briton Luke Donald (69).

Among those missing the cut were Irish world No. 3 Padraig Harrington, fourth-ranked Fijian Vijay Singh and Japanese teenage sensation Ryo Ishikawa.


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