Phil Mickelson overcame a six-shot final round deficit for a fourth win at golf’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where Tiger Woods faded to a 15th-place finish to extend his winless drought on the U.S. PGA Tour to 29 months.
Mickelson, 41, shot a bogey-free, 8-under-par 64 yesterday at Pebble Beach Golf Links to finish 17 under for the tournament on California’s Monterey Peninsula.
Playing in a group with Woods, Mickelson had three birdies and an eagle over the first six holes to surge past third-round leader Charlie Wi and become the ninth golfer with 40 career PGA Tour wins. He beat Woods by 11 shots over the final round.
“I am inspired playing with him,” Mickelson, who also won the tournament in 1998, 2005 and 2007, said of Woods. “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.”
Wi finished second at 15 under, with Ricky Barnes another two shots back. Woods, whose last PGA Tour win came in September 2009, ended the event in a tie for 15th place at 8-under par after a final round 75. Only four of the 68 professionals in the field shot a worse final-round score than Woods, who was even bested yesterday by his amateur playing partner, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
“What was frustrating is that I had a chance and all I had to do was get off to a good, solid start and I didn’t do that,” Woods, who was making his PGA Tour season debut after finishing third in Abu Dhabi three weeks ago, told reporters. “I thought I could get it in the middle part of the round, but instead I went the other way.”
The final round marked the 30th time Mickelson and Woods were paired together in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event and the 10th time they’ve played together on the last day.
Starting in the next-to-last group behind Wi and Ken Duke, Mickelson surged atop the leaderboard by playing the first six holes in 5-under par.
Wi, seeking his first career win, began the day with a three-shot lead over Duke and four strokes ahead of Woods. Wi made a double bogey at the first hole and also dropped shots at the fifth and six holes to lose his advantage.
Woods had a birdie at the par-5 sixth hole and then made three consecutive bogies to fall five shots behind Mickelson. He holed out from a greenside bunker for a birdie on the par-3 12th and then had bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes. Woods had shot 67 the previous day at Pebble Beach and entered the final round with a scoring average of 68.4 in 10 rounds at the course in the Pro-Am, including an average of 67 in the final round.
“I missed a ton of short putts,” Woods said. “I didn’t hit it as bad as the score indicated, that’s for sure, but I missed everything.”
Mickelson added birdies on the 13th, 14th and 18th holes in matching his biggest career comeback victory. The left-hander also rallied from six shots down in the final round to win the 2000 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
“It feels great because it’s a special place for me, Pebble Beach,” said Mickelson, who received $1.15 million. “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 would like to.”
Mickelson climbs to 11th from 17th in golf’s Official World Ranking with the win, while Woods remains 18th.
The PGA Tour next moves to Pacific Palisades, California, for the $6.6 million Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club from Feb. 16-19.
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