February 12, 2012
Mickelson roars to win at Pebble Beach
By Sports Network
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF. - Sunday's final round at Pebble Beach was set up perfectly for Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods to battle head-to-head.
Neither was in the lead to start the round, but that changed quickly after Mickelson went five-under par through six holes and was well on his way to victory with two-thirds of the round still to go.
Mickelson fired a bogey-free eight-under 64 to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by two shots over Charlie Wi. Mickelson, who had the low round of the day by three strokes, picked up his fourth win at this event at 17-under 269.
It was Mickelson's 40th PGA Tour victory, putting him alone in ninth place on the all-time wins list.
"Regardless of what number it is, it just feels great to win this tournament," Mickelson said. "It feels great because this is a special place for me. My grandfather having caddied here; such a national treasure. It means a lot to me because I haven't played the last year the way I'd like to. To put it together this week, especially with this final round, is terrific."
Woods never got anything going and missed several short putts. He struggled to a three-over 75 to slide into a tie for 15th place at eight-under 278.
Wi, the third-round leader, fought off some early struggles to post an even- par 72 but ended alone in second place at 15-under 271. It marked the third straight week that the 54-hole leader failed to hang on for the victory.
Ricky Barnes closed with a five-under 67 to grab third place at minus-13. Aaron Baddeley also shot 67 to take fourth at 12-under 274.
Mickelson was six behind Wi at the start of the round, and Wi was three clear of the field. That quickly changed as Wi four-putted for double-bogey on the first hole to let several players back into the mix.
One of those players, Mickelson, took full advantage of the opening. He two- putted for birdie on the par-five second, then converted a 15-foot birdie try on the fourth.
Mickelson made it two in a row with a kick-in birdie at the par-three fifth. That got him within one of the lead, and he was far from finished.
At the par-five sixth, Mickelson ran home a 21-foot eagle putt to grab a two- stroke lead as Wi tripped to a bogey at the fifth.
Woods parred his first five to remain at 11-under, then two-putted for birdie on the sixth and was two behind Mickelson. Woods bogeyed each of the next three holes to tumble five back of his playing partner, Mickelson, who was in the midst of carding six straight pars.
At the par-three 12th, Woods looked as though he might get back within three after he chipped in for birdie from a greenside bunker. But Mickelson had an answer.
After missing the green badly, Lefty drained a 30-footer to save par. Woods only got one-shot closer and seemed to lose his momentum from there while Mickelson used the par save as a boost. He stuck his approach within two feet at the 13th and tapped that in for birdie.
On the par-five 14th, Mickelson sank a six-foot birdie try to get to 16-under. He led by three at that point, and parred his next three holes. During the span, Mickelson poured in a 38-foot par save at 15.
At the famous par-five 18th, Mickelson hit a pair of iron shots and had 111 yards left for third shot. He knocked that to five feet and buried the putt for a winning birdie.
"I am inspired playing [Woods]. I think most people are," said Mickelson, who has had a better score than Woods in each of the last five times they were paired in the last round. "He seems to bring out the best in me and the last four or five years, I've played some of my best golf playing with him. And I really enjoy it."
Woods was unable to gain any momentum from his birdie on 12. He missed the green on the par-five 14th and couldn't get up and down for par, then blasted his second over the green on 15.
After a very nice chip, he missed a short par putt to fall to minus-eight. Woods parred the last three to end eight back.
"I didn't hit it as bad as the score indicated, but I putted awful. As good as I felt on the greens yesterday, that's as bad as I felt today," said Woods in a televised interview. "I couldn't see my lines, and anything that I tried to do wasn't working."
Woods has now gone 29 months since his last PGA Tour victory.
Wi fell to 11-under after bogeys on five and six. He erased those mistakes with birdies on seven and 12. After dropping another stroke on the 15th, Wi birdied the final three holes to take second place.
NOTES: Mickelson earned $1.152 million for the victory...Sixteen of Mickelson's 40 wins have been in come-from-behind fashion...The six-shot comeback matched his biggest rally at Colonial in 2000...Mickelson is now one win behind Mark O'Meara for most victories at this event...The PGA Tour heads to Riviera next week for the Northern Trust Open, where Aaron Baddeley beat Vijay Singh last year by two strokes.