Mickelson on verge of AT&T Proam victory
Up 3 as darkness falls, Lefty will return today to play last two holes
Phil Mickelson led the AT&T Pebble Beach Proam by three shots with two holes to play when it was called because of darkness after an earlier weather delay.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Phil Mickelson put himself on the brink of a fifth victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach Proam by turning a threeshot deficit into a threeshot lead when a wild day of weather kept him from finishing Sunday.
Mickelson was bogeyfree with six birdies, and he made his big run starting with a 9iron to a foot behind the cup on the par4 ninth. That was start of a fivehole stretch when Mickelson made three birdies and Paul Casey had two bogeys.
About the only thing that didn’t go Mickelson’s way was the timing.
The final round started an hour late because of rain, and then it was delayed two more hours when sunshine gave way to a hail storm in a matter of minutes, covering the putting greens in a sheet of white.
Mickelson was at 18under par through 16 holes. Casey had a 3foot par putt on the same hole when Mickelson tried to lobby for them to finish, even in the dark.
“I can see fine,” Mickelson told a rules official. “I don’t want to put Paul in a bad spot.”
Casey was at 15 under, tied with Scott Stallings, who closed with a 66. Along with an outside chance at forcing a playoff, finishing alone in second instead of a tie is a difference of $152,000, along with world ranking and Fedex Cup points.
“I don’t see how we can finish,” Casey said as they walked up the 16th fairway. “We can’t finish two holes in six minutes.”
Mickelson is on the verge of winning for the 44th time in his career and matching Mark O’meara with five victories at a tournament he first played in 1995. It also would be his first victory on American soil since the Phoenix Open six years ago.
Casey has not won in three previous times he had a 54hole lead on the PGA Tour, all of them by two shots or more, but he was holding his own against the relentless pursuit of Mickelson, who missed three straight birdie putts from the 12foot range by the slimmest margins. Casey had great par saves, but Mickelson took off.
After his 9iron to within a foot at No. 9 to get within one shot, Mickelson holed a 12foot birdie on the 10th with a drive that hugged the right side of the fairway and probably would have bounced into the ocean if not for conditions so soft from rain that balls plugged where they landed.
Casey blinked first with a bogey on the 11th hole, and another on the par3 12th when his tee shot came up short and into the bunker. Mickelson poured it on, controlling spin beautifully to back pin positions.
He just didn’t want to stay another day.
“I have good vision, I can see fine and I wanted to continue,” he said. “[But] in all honesty, it’s a good thing to play the last two holes in fresh conditions.”
Langer captures Oasis Championship: In Boca Raton, Fla., Bernhard Langer made himself right at home in the Oasis Championship. Playing 10 minutes from his house, Langer closed with a 7under 65 at The Old Course at Broken Sound for a fivestroke victory.
Langer, 61, finished at 19under 197 for his 39th victory on the 50andover tour.
Boutier wins LPGA event: In Barwon Heads, Australia, Celine Boutier of France claimed a twostroke victory in the LPGA’S Vic Open. Boutier shot a finalround 72 to finish at 8under 281.
Paul Casey (right) follows his drive from the third tee as Phil Mickelson looks on. Casey was about to putt on the 16th green when the round was called because of darkness.