GOLF

Mickelson birdies his way back to share of BMW lead

Phil Mickelson put on a charge and made 10 birdies in his round of 8-under 64, and wound up tied for the lead Saturday at the BMW Championship when Vijay Singh three-putted his final hole at Carmel, Ind.

Mickelson and Singh, both in the World Golf Hall of Fame, still have to fight off perhaps the strongest leaderboard in golf all year.

PGA champion Rory McIlroy birdied his last hole for a 69 and joined former world No. 1 Lee Westwood (68) at one shot behind.

Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott were among those another shot back, with Tiger Woods lurking just three shots out of the lead after a 71.

The top 11 players on the leaderboard have combined to win 25 major championships, setting up what should be a wild round Sunday at the famed Crooked Stick course.

LPGA: Paula Creamer moved into position to end a two-year victory drought, shooting a 6-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Kingsmill Championship at Williamsburg, Va.

The nine-time LPGA Tour winner chipped in for birdie on the par-4 13th in her bogey-free round on Kingsmill’s River Course. She had a 16-under 197 total, the lowest 54-hole score in the history of the event.

Second-round leader Jiyai Shin was second after a 69.

Dewi Claire Schreefel and Danielle Kang were 12 under. Schreefel had a 69, and Kang shot 70.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Graeme Storm of England blew a five-stroke lead midway through the third round, leaving him in a four-way tie for first at the KLM Open in Hilversum, Netherlands.

Storm has been in front since the first round and began the day three strokes ahead. He extended his lead to five when he birdied the 12th hole on the Hilversumsche course. But bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14 and pars the rest of the way put him at 12-under 198. He is tied with Spaniards Pablo Larrazabal (64) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (66), and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson (66).

CYCLING

SPANISH VUELTA: Denis Menchov won the punishing 20th stage while Alberto Contador kept the overall leader’s red jersey to all but clinch his second title.

Menchov, a Russian cyclist and a two-time Vuelta winner, outlasted Richie Porte of Australia on the special category climb up to Bola del Mundo to win the next-to-last leg by 17 seconds in 4 hours, 48 minutes, 48 seconds.

Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez, Contador’s closest pursuers in the general classification, finished ahead of the Spanish leader but the difference wasn’t enough to close the gap.

SOCCER

AFRICAN CUP: Cameroon slipped to a surprise loss at Cape Verde, Central African Republic moved closer to its first major tournament and defending champion Zambia won narrowly at the start of the final round of qualifying for the African Cup.

WORLD CUP: Denmark and the Czech Republic drew 0-0 in their opening qualifying match at Copenhagen, Denmark.

Scotland and Serbia opened their bids to qualify with a 0-0 draw at Glasgow, Scotland.

EUROPE: Manchester United defender Phil Jones will be sidelined for up to two months after undergoing knee surgery. The England international sustained the injury in training earlier this week.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton won the pole position for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix after finishing fastest in qualifying, with teammate Jenson Button giving McLaren a one-two finish at Monza, Italy.

Hamilton took his fourth pole of the season amid speculation about his possible switch to Mercedes.

His time of 1 minute, 24.010 seconds was just more than a tenth of a second faster than Button’s. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was third.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso had another disappointing day.

The Spaniard, just a thousandth of a second behind Hamilton in the final practice, will start in 10th position.

— From staff and news services