Mick­el­son on verge of AT&T Pro­am vic­tory

Up 3 as dark­ness falls, Lefty will re­turn to­day to play last two holes

The Dallas Morning News - - Sportsday -

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.

Eric Risberg/ The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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