ALL HAIL... PHIL

Weather de­lays Mick­el­son’s quest for fifth win at Peb­ble Beach.

The Times-Tribune - - SPORTS - BY DOUG FERGUSON

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 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 3-foot par putt to stay three shots be­hind when they re­turn to­day at 8 a.m. 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.

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 an di 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 fin­ishit 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.”

Cham­pi­ons Tour

At Boca Ra­ton, Fla., Bern­hard Langer made him­self at home in the Oa­sis Cham­pi­onship.

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 five­stroke vic­tory. He fin­ished at a tour­na­ment-record 19-un­der 197 for his 39th vic­tory on the 50-and-over cir­cuit and earned $255,000 to break Hale Ir­win’s tour ca­reer record with $27,196,504.

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.

ERIC RISBERG / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A rules of­fi­cial di­rects greenskeep­ers try­ing to clear hail and stand­ing wa­ter from the sec­ond green of the Peb­ble Beach Golf Links dur­ing the fi­nal round of the AT&T Peb­ble Beach Pro-am golf tour­na­ment Sun­day. Play was sus­pended af­ter the hail­storm, and again due to dark­ness.

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