Mickelson on the cusp, stalled by wild weather
Phil Mickelson had everything go his way Sunday in the Pebble Beach (Calif.) Pro-Am.
He just couldn’t beat the darkness.
On a wild day of weather — even by Pebble Beach standards — sunshine gave way to a hailstorm that covered the greens in a sheet of white in a matter of minutes. The delay kept Mickelson from finishing off a remarkable rally in which he turned a three-shot deficit against Paul Casey into a three-shot lead until it was too dark to finish the last two holes.
Mickelson at least wanted to try.
“I can see fine,” he said to a PGA Tour rules official as they walked up the 16th fairway. “I don’t want to put Paul in a bad spot.”
Casey simply couldn’t see and realized it was not possible to finish all 18 holes — “We can’t finish two holes in six minutes,” he said to the official — he opted to mark his ball on the 16th green.
Mickelson already made his par on the 16th and was 6 under par for the day, with no bogeys on his card, and 18 under for the tournament.
Casey has a three-foot par putt to stay three shots behind when they return Monday morning to play the par-3 17th and the par-5 18th. Lost in the late start — a one hour delay from rain, a two-hour suspension from hail — was sheer brilliance from the 48-year-old Mickelson, who didn’t come remotely close to making a bogey and was on the cusp of a fifth victory in the Pebble Beach ProAm.
His first one also was a Monday finish, when players returned in August 1998 — more than six months later — to finish the third round of the weather-plagued tournament to make it official.
“We’ve got two tough holes left, and I don’t want to jump the gun and get past that,” Mickelson said.
“I know a lot can happen in these two holes, and they have happened in the past, so I want to stay focused and just come out tomorrow and try to finish it off. I wish we could do it tonight.”
Mickelson made his big run starting with a 9-iron to a foot behind the cup on the par-4 ninth. That was start of a fivehole stretch in which Mickelson made three birdies and Casey had two bogeys, taking Lefty from two behind to three ahead.
“I didn’t make anything. I hit some good golf shots and didn’t get anything out of it today,” Casey said. “Phil has put together a spectacular round of golf so far — 6 under, no dropped shots. Remarkable stuff.”
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Bernhard Langer made himself right at home in the Oasis Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.
Playing 10 minutes from his house, the 61-year-old German star closed with a 7-under 65 in windy condition at the Old Course at Broken Sound for a five-stroke victory.
LPGA AND EUROPEAN TOURS: Celine Boutier of France claimed a two-stroke victory in the LPGA’s Vic Open in Barwon Heads, Australia, while Scotland’s David Law made an eagle on the par-5 18th to win the men’s title by a stroke over Australians Brad Kennedy and Wade Ormsby.