Monday qualifier Mayfair leads Mickelson at Quail Hollow

By Andrew Both

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Billy Mayfair shot a one-under par 71 to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Quail Hollow Championship on Saturday and give himself every chance of becoming the first Monday qualifier to win on the PGA Tour since 1986.

Mayfair's nine-under total of 207 leaves him scant room for error going into the final round, however, with Phil Mickelson (71) and fellow American Davis Love III (68) equal second on seven-under.

Two-time major winner Angel Cabrera (73) is among a trio three shots adrift.

"I'm trying not to think about (winning), but obviously you put yourself in this position and you want to take advantage of it."

The 43-year-old Mayfair, the only man to beat Tiger Woods in a playoff on tour at the 1998 Los Angeles Open lost his exempt status after finishing 157th on last year's money list.

"I don't think you ever lose that (winning) feeling, even though it's been a long time," he said.

"I won Monday in the qualifier. I beat my wife last Saturday too ... I've still got a lot of golf left, a lot of players behind me.

"I kept the ball in play except for one bad drive (at the seventh) and hit a lot of good shots into the greens and kept the ball below the hole as much as I could and made the putts I needed to make."

Masters champion Mickelson was off his game but was pleased to have limited the damage in his round of 71.

"I didn't have it today," he said. "I didn't have great control over my ball-striking and missed a number of putts that I probably could have made.

"But I controlled the misses, kept the round in check and because of the difficult conditions was able to shoot a number that kept me in contention for Sunday, so I'm excited about my opportunity."

Love, a 20-time winner on tour, has a chance for just his third victory since 2003.

"I hit the ball real well yesterday and didn't get much out of it so it was good to make some putts today," he said.

(Editing by Ian Ransom)