< Phil Mick­el­son

Has three-shot lead on Casey but weather de­lay means a Mon­day fin­ish

The Day - - SPORTS - By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer

has a three-shot lead over Paul Casey at the Peb­ble Beach Pro-Am. The rain-de­layed event will fin­ish up to­day.

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 hail storm 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 we 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 par for the tour­na­ment. Casey has a 3-foot par putt to stay three shots be­hind when they re­turn at 8 a.m. Mon­day to play the par-3 17th and the par-5 18th.

Lost in the late start — 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 brink of a fifth vic­tory in the Peb­ble Beach Pro-Am.

His first one also was a Mon­day fin­ish, when play­ers re­turned in Au­gust — 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 five-hole stretch when 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 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 rank­ing points and FedEx Cup points. Casey and FedEx ex­ec­u­tive Don Colleran had a one-shot lead in the pro-am.

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.

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