Phil Mickelson completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Phoenix Open, again flirting with history in a dominating run at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.
Mickelson shot a 4-under 67 on Sunday to finish at 28-under 256, two strokes off the PGA Tour record of 254 for 72 holes set by Tommy Armour III in the 2003 Texas Open.
“It’s an important one for me, because it’s been a while since I won, been a while since I’ve been in contention,” Mickelson said. “I was certainly nervous heading into today. I think the thing I’m most excited about was the way I was able to regain control of my thoughts after a few shots early on that I didn’t care for.”
Mickelson, who was a three-time NCAA champion at Arizona State, missed a chance for a 59 in the first round when his 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole rimmed out. He settled for a 60 and followed with rounds of 65 and 64 to take a six-stroke lead into the final round.
He now heads to Pebble Beach for his title defense.
“I think that sets up the tone for the rest of the year, because I really started to play well,” said Mickelson, who won $1.116 million.
Brandt Snedeker finished second, four strokes back after a 65.
“Sometimes you have to tip your hat and say, ‘Phil played unbelievable and deserved to win,’ ” Snedeker said.
Scott Piercy shot the second-best round of the tournament, a 61, and surged to third. Another shot back at 262 was Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, who finished with a 6-under 65.
Mickelson took a three-stroke lead to the 17th tee, and nearly drove into the left-side water on the drivable par 4, his ball stopping a yard short of the hazard. He hit his 25-yard second shot 15 feet past the hole and made the birdie putt.
Mickelson parred the par-4 18th after another drive to the left, one that easily cleared the water hazard that led to his double bogey Friday.
Mickelson had his third wire-to-wire victory and first since the 2006 BellSouth Classic — a 13-stroke blowout the week before the second of his three Masters victories. He pushed his victory total to 41, winning for the first time since 51 weeks ago at Pebble Beach.
SCOT WINS IN DUBAI
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher made an eagle on the 16th hole to win the Dubai Desert Classic, overcoming early jitters to shoot a 1-under 71 and beat playing partner Richard Sterne (71) by three shots.
Gallacher finished with a 22-under total of 266 and climbed to 60th in the world, potentially earning invitations to the Masters in April and the World Gold Championship Match Play Championship later this month in Arizona.
WEBB WINS HER 8TH
Karrie Webb won the Australian Ladies Masters championship for the eighth time in her native nation, coming from two strokes behind in the final round with birdies on three of her last five holes.
Webb shot a 5-under 67 at Royal Pine in Gold Coast, Australia, to finish the 54-hole event with a 13-under 204 total.
A trio of runners-up two shots behind included Australian amateur Oh Su-hyun, South Korea’s Chella Choi and second-round co-leaders Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand.