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Saturday's 2013 Wells Fargo Championship Notebook

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Charlotte’s Robert Karlsson enjoying tie for 4th so close to home

Robert Karlsson might be able to deal with the early start Sunday better than most of the other players in the Wells Fargo Championship field.

Karlsson, a Charlotte resident for the past three years, will tee off at 8:35 a.m. with John Senden and Ryan Moore. He turned in a 3-under-par 68 Saturday to sit at 6-under for the tournament in a tie for fourth.

Karlsson said he lives about 20 minutes from Quail Hollow Club, where he’s played an estimated five or six times this year already. The 43-year-old Swede said it’s nice to see his name near the top of his new-hometown leader board.

“For me, (the early start) is very good. I’ll sleep in my own bed tonight,” Karlsson said. “It’s obviously not ideal to tee off on Sunday … in the morning, but we’ll have to do what we can to get the round finished if the weather’s going to be really bad.”

Notes

Great up to 18: Had it not been for a bogey on the 18th hole, George McNeill might have been tied for the lead. Instead he’s a shot behind Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney.

McNeill, a former Florida State star who has two career victories on the PGA Tour, was tied for the lead as he stood on the 18th tee.

“I didn’t even know until I was standing on 18 green,” said McNeill. “Then I looked up and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m tied for the lead.’ ”

McNeill missed a 15-foot putt for par on the 18th.

“Obviously, I don’t want to make bogey there and drop out (of the lead),” he said.

McNeill will play Sunday with Watney and Mickelson, teeing off early at 8:45 a.m. due to expected rain.

“I don’t mind getting up early,” he said. “I don’t think anybody does. We do it at least one day every Thursday and Friday. It actually almost takes a little pressure off. You don’t think about it as long. Hopefully you transition right into it and get out and play.”

Fowler’s farewell: All week long at Quail Hollow several fans could be spotted wearing orange or blue Puma hats and shirts just like the ones made popular by Rickie Fowler.

If the fans happen to wear them Sunday, they shouldn’t expect any autographs from the 24-year-old.

The 2012 Wells Fargo Championship winner missed the Saturday cut, shooting a 5-over-par 77 to finish at 5 over for the tournament.

Fowler, who won the tournament in a one-hole playoff last year for his first PGA Tour victory, began the first three holes at even par but committed six bogies and just one birdie on Saturday.

“I’m swinging really well, hitting the ball really well, I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” said Fowler, who had 32 putts Saturday. “It’s a great place, a fun course to play. Unfortunately the greens ended up the way they are, but definitely look forward to coming here every year.”

Birthday cake: Rory McIlroy turned 24 on Saturday, and he probably could have given himself a better present than his 1-over-par 73 in the third round.

McIlroy, the 2010 Wells Fargo Champion, said he lost confidence in his putting stroke after missing some close putts. Still, he’s tied for 10th at 5 under heading into Sunday.

He planned to get together with friends and watch the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero boxing match Saturday night, but those plans were in jeopardy with the early tee time.

His girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, got him a bracelet and shoes for his birthday, and his friends got him a gift to make sure he can stay in touch.

“The guys got me a Mobi (a charging device) for the iPhone 5, because I’m on my phone a lot so I’m always losing battery,” he said. “That was a decent little present.”

Quoting

“At UNLV I had to wake up at 5 a.m. every other morning, so time really is nothing.” – 22-year-old Derek Ernst when asked if his age could help him handle the early tee time better than some.

“She was pretty cool about it, but, boy, it didn’t look good.” – Mickelson, on hitting a woman in the head with his second shot on No. 16.

“There is not a lot of grass on them, so I don’t know how they’ll hold up.” – Nick Watney on how Quail Hollow’s greens will play Sunday in the expected rain.

“It’s going to be a fun day.” – George McNeill, one stroke behind the leaders.

By the numbers

0 Bogey-free rounds Saturday after four on Thursday and three on Friday

22 wins out of 36 events for Phil Mickelson in which he held at least a share of the lead at 54 holes

5 third-round leaders who have gone on to win the Wells Fargo Championship in its history

47 of 49 putts made by Mickelson within 10 feet this week

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