Phil has line to 44th win

Mick­el­son slowed by hail and rain

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Sports -

PEB­BLE BEACH, Calif. — Phil Mick­el­son put him­self on the brink of a fifth vic­tory in the AT&T Peb­ble Beach Pro-Am by turn­ing a three-shot deficit into a three-shot lead Sun­day when a wild day of weather kept him from fin­ish­ing.

Mick­el­son was bo­gey-free with six birdies, and he 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 five-hole 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 greens in a sheet of white.

Mick­el­son was at 18 un­der through 16 holes. Casey had a 3-foot 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.”

Mick­el­son and Casey will have to re­turn at 8 a.m. Mon­day to play the fi­nal two holes.

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

“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. I’d like to.”

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.

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. He won the Bri­tish Open that sum­mer in Scot­land, and the Mex­ico Cham­pi­onship in 2018.

His bril­liant play still shared the stage with weather that was bizarre even by Peb­ble stan­dards.

Mick­el­son and Casey were wait­ing to tee off when clouds moved in quickly and rain turned into hail that pounded um­brel­las, many of them held side­ways to ac­count for the wind. Greens quickly were cov­ered by the tiny white pel­lets, and work­ers went from us­ing squeegees for ex­cess wa­ter to power blow­ers to re­move the hail.

Harry How/Getty Im­ages

Phil Mick­el­son is poised to win his fifth Peb­ble Beach ProAm. Through 16 holes Sun­day, he was 6 un­der for the round and led by three shots over Paul Casey.

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