AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Pebble Beach, California
Winner: Phil Mickelson

Lefty, now 48, was at home at Pebble again and, as the old expression goes, in fine fettle. He came back out that Monday morning and picked up where he left off in the storm the day before, and neatly formalized his victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am — his fifth. And also his 44th PGA Tour victory, and it joined him with Tiger Woods as the only two players to top $90 million in career winnings.

This was the durable and determined Phil Mickelson, of course, and the win was especially sweet after he’d let the Desert Classic slip away three weeks earlier. “It means a lot to me to play the final round as focused and as well as I did,” Mickelson said. “Especially after not being my best in Palm Springs. So to finish it off and play the way I did yesterday and today means a lot.”

It was his turn to come from behind this time. Mickelson opened with a six-under 65 at Monterey Peninsula, a shot behind Brian Gay and Scott Langley. He stayed in the hunt with a 68 at Spyglass Hill when bad weather forced the finish of the second round into Saturday morning. The battle took shape in the third round. Paul Casey shot 67 at Spyglass and was at 200 while Mickelson shot 70 at Pebble Beach for a 203. It was rain and hail at Pebble for the fourth round, and a delay and a Monday finish, and thereby hangs a little flap.

While Casey, leading by three, fell quiet with just one birdie on the front nine, Mickelson was rolling. He birdied Nos. 2, 4 and 9 — the latter spectacularly, on a 166-yard approach and a tap-in. He birdied 10, 13 and 14 comfortably while Casey bogeyed 11 and 12 and birdied 14. Mickelson was leading by three through the 16th when it became too dark to see. But Mickelson wanted to keep going. Casey noted there was no way to play the last two holes in six minutes. Mickelson relented.

“I just get in my own little bubble and I don’t see the big picture,” Mickelson conceded, after they returned and finished on Monday morning. Both birdied the 18th, Mickelson for a 65 and a 19-under 268, and a three-stroke win over Casey, who finished with a 71–271. Then came the question that was as logical as it was inevitable, with the U.S. Open coming to Pebble in June: Would Mickelson have an advantage from the victory?

“I really don’t think there’s any carryover from here to the U.S. Open,” he said. “It’s a totally different golf course. The greens will be firm, the rough will be high. Here, I’m trying to hit the ball as far as I can, not worry too much about the rough … so there’s really no carryover, other than I just really enjoy this place. I seem to play some of my best golf here, and that’s probably about it.”


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