Be­ware of dark­ness

Mick­el­son must try to close out Peb­ble Beach win to­day

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - SPORTS -

PEB­BLE BEACH, Calif. — Phil Mick­el­son had ev­ery­thing go his way Sun­day in the AT&T Peb­ble Beach 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 when Mick­el­son 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 for the day, with no bo­geys on his card, and 18 un­der for the tour­na­ment. Casey needs to make a three-foot par putt to stay three shots be­hind when they re­turn at 8 this morn­ing to play the par-3 17th and the par-5 18th.

Lost in the late start — a one­hour de­lay from rain, plus a twohour sus­pen­sion from hail — was sheer bril­liance from the 48-yearold Mick­el­son, who didn’t come re­motely close to mak­ing a bo­gey and was on the brink of a fifth vic­tory in the event on the Mon­terey Penin­sula.

His first one also had a Mon­day fin­ish — when play­ers re­turned in Au­gust, more than six months later, to com­plete 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 shot that put the ball a foot be­hind the cup on the par-4 ninth. That was the start of a five-hole stretch in which Mick­el­son made three birdies and Paul 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.”

Even as Mick­el­son strongly hinted at want­ing to fin­ish — at one point sug­gest­ing they play the 17th and he could scoot ahead to get a ball in play on the 18th so at least he could fin­ish — Casey stood his ground.

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 Golf Rank­ing and FedEx Cup points. Casey and FedEx ex­ec­u­tive Don Colleran had a one-shot lead in the pro-am.

Some play­ers fin­ished in the dark with no chance of win­ning, but they showed the ef­fect of play­ing with­out light. Scott Piercy had a 15-foot putt that was slightly up­hill, and he still ran it seven feet by the hole and three-putted for bo­gey.

Ja­son Day closed with a 68 and was tied for fourth at 13-un­der 175 with Si Woo Kim (68).

Mick­el­son was stand­ing on the 17th tee when he heard the horn sound to stop play, and he shook his head.

The rest of his day was far bet­ter than the weather.

Langer does it again

BOCA RA­TON, Fla. — Bern­hard Langer made him­self at home in the PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons’ Oa­sis Cham­pi­onship.

Play­ing 10 min­utes from his house, the 61-year-old Ger­man star closed with a 7-un­der 65 in windy con­di­tions at The Old Course at Bro­ken Sound for a five-stroke vic­tory. He fin­ished at a tour­na­ment-record 19-un­der 197 for his 39th vic­tory on the 50-and-older cir­cuit and earned $255,000 to break Hale Ir­win’s tour ca­reer win­nings record with $27,196,504.

Also the tour­na­ment win­ner in 2010, Langer moved within six of Ir­win’s tour vic­to­ries record and won in his 13th straight sea­son to ex­tend his record streak. Langer birdied five of the first seven holes in a bo­gey-free round to close in com­mand­ing fash­ion.

Marco Daw­son was sec­ond af­ter a 69, Bob Estes shot a 68 to fin­ish third at 13 un­der and David Toms was another stroke back af­ter a 70.

Chat­tanooga’s Gibby Gil­bert III closed with a 71 and tied for 42nd at 2 un­der in his first event of his first full sea­son on the se­nior tour.

Boutier, Law win

BAR­WON HEADS, Aus­tralia — France’s Ce­line Boutier won the ISPS Handa Vic Open for her first LPGA Tour ti­tle, closing with a par round of 72 for a two-stroke vic­tory at 13th Beach Golf Links.

Boutier fin­ished at 8-un­der 281 to be­come the fourth French win­ner in LPGA Tour his­tory. The 25-year-old for­mer Duke Uni­ver­sity golfer also won the Ladies Euro­pean Tour’s 2017 Sanya Ladies Open and the 2018 Aus­tralian Ladies Clas­sic Bonville.

Aus­tralia’s Sarah Kemp (65) and Su Oh (74) and Eng­land’s Char­lotte Thomas (69) tied for sec­ond. Third-round leader Kim Kauf­man of the United States had a 78 to tie for eighth at 4 un­der.

The tour­na­ment was played along­side a men’s event sanc­tioned by the Euro­pean Tour and the PGA Tour of Aus­trala­sia.

Scot­land’s David Law over­came a three-stroke deficit on the fi­nal three holes to top that field for his first Euro­pean Tour ti­tle.

Law birdied the par-4 16th and made an eight-foot ea­gle putt on the par-5 18th for a 6-un­der 66 and a one-stroke vic­tory over Aus­tralia’s Brad Kennedy (67) and Wade Ormsby (70), who had a dou­ble bo­gey on the par-3 17th.

Gligic ends drought

PANAMA CITY — Canada’s Michael Gligic closed with a 5-un­der 65 for a one-shot vic­tory in the Web.com Tour’s Panama Cham­pi­onship, his first win in nearly seven years.

Gligic was one shot be­hind when he opened the back nine, but he took the lead for good over China’s Zhang Xin­jun with a birdie on the par-4 14th hole. Each made a bo­gey on the 15th, and Gligic ex­tended his lead with another birdie on the 16th.

Gligic fin­ished at 8-un­der 272 over­all. His only other vic­tory as a pro was on the Macken­zie Tour in Canada in 2012.

Zhang birdied the last hole for a 66 to fin­ish sec­ond, with coun­try­man Carl Yuan (69) another stroke back. Ben Tay­lor, who had a one-shot lead go­ing into the fi­nal round, didn’t make a birdie un­til the 16th hole and closed with a 71 to fin­ish fourth at 5 un­der.

AP PHOTO/ERIC RISBERG

Phil Mick­el­son hits from the No. 5 tee dur­ing the fi­nal round of the AT&T Peb­ble Beach Pro-Am on Sun­day in Peb­ble Beach, Calif. Mick­el­son led by three strokes when play was sus­pended due to dark­ness.

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