Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Phil Mickelson leads heading into Monday finish at Pebble Beach

Don't spike this Rule 13.1c proving handy at Pebble Beach Phil Mickelson closes in on fifth AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am win
Shannon Reynolds | 13 February, 2019, 20:55

Casey, who also birdied 18 to finish a last-round 71, and Mickelson were the only players stopped by darkness in Sunday's hail-delayed final round, Mickelson with two holes remaining and a three-stroke edge over Casey, who resumed by making a three-foot par putt at 16.

Thirteen of Mickelson's 43 PGA Tour victories have come in his home state of California. He also became the oldest-ever PGA victor at the famed California coastal layout. "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".

Hale Irwin, who won the 1990 edition of the US Open at 45 years and 15 days old, is the oldest US Open victor to date so the stats are really against Phil Mickelson, who turns 49 on the Sunday of this year's edition.

He has won five majors - the Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), PGA Championship (2005) and British Open (2013).

The popular lefthander has been a US Open regular since Irwin's victory nearly 29 years ago and he's finished second an incredible six times in the event.

And while he enjoyed the victory, Mickelson didn't consider it meaningful in any way for the US Open.

"I get where Paul is coming from", Mickelson said.

"The rough will be so different and the greens so firm it will be a whole different golf course but I'll deal with that in six months".

Jason Day closed with a 68 and was tied for fourth at 13-under 175 with Si Woo Kim (68).

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"A phenomenal round of golf, " Casey said.

Casey's only hope was for Mickelson to make a mistake on the closing holes, and there was little chance of that.

We'll get to some nuggets backing each argument, but let's first hear from the guy whose opinion matters most in all things Mickelson - the ubiquitous lefty himself.

"Sometimes I get in my own bubble", Mickelson said. "He protected both of us". And in 1992 he made his first start as a professional at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Mickelson briefly went three ahead after converting from eight feet at the 13th, before picking up a sixth birdie of the day at the par-five next to match Casey's 15-footer from the fringe.

At 18, Mickelson put the ball in the fairway twice, and dropped his approach six feet from the cup to set up his final birdie putt.

Casey finished with a birdie that was worth US$152,000 (NZ$225,000) because he wound up alone in second place.

On Monday morning, he had a change of heart and said he thanked Casey for standing his ground.

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