Lefty on brink of win­ning at Peb­ble

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING - By Doug Fer­gu­son

P E BBLE B E ACH , CA LIF.» 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 three­shot 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 af­ter he 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 3foot par putt to stay three shots be­hind when they re­turn at 8 a.m. PST on Mon­day to play the par-3 17th and the par-5 18th.

Lost in the late start — one hour de­lay from rain, a twohour 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 AT&T Peb­ble Beach Pro-Am.

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

But 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 moved in, 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.

Sam Saun­ders, whose grand­fa­ther Arnold Palmer was among the Peb­ble Beach own­ers, scooped up hail and tossed it like a snow­ball. Pa­trick Reed’s brother laid on his back and tried to make a snow an­gel.

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