Golf: Fifth Pebble Beach victory makes Mickelson’s day
(Reuters) – Phil Mickelson won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am by three strokes on Monday, equaling Mark O’Meara’s record of five victories in the northern California event.
Mickelson recorded his 44th PGA Tour triumph in style with a closing seven-under-par 65 at Pebble Beach.
“This really is a special place for me, going back to 1919 when my grandfather was one of the initial caddies here,” the 48-year-old said after becoming the oldest winner of the event.
“This was the first event for me as a pro. To win here this week is something I’m going to cherish.”
Mickelson finished at 19-under 268, while Englishman Paul Casey (71) birdied the final hole for second place on 16-under.
Mickelson and Casey were the only players who did not complete the weather-delayed event on Sunday night.
Casey resumed with a three-foot par putt at the 16th hole on Monday, while Mickelson had already completed the hole.
They both parred the 17th and then birdied the par-five 18th, Mickelson sealing the win by rolling in a six-foot putt as former local mayor and actor Clint Eastwood looked on from the television tower.
“It means a lot to me to play the final round as focused and as well as I did,” said Mickelson, who started the final round three strokes behind Casey.
Mickelson had wanted to finish in the dark on Sunday and was left frustrated when Casey refused to play on – but a day later he understood the Englishman’s stand.
“I thanked Paul this morning because I sometimes in my own little bubble I don’t see the big picture,” Mickelson said.
“He really protected both of us. The greens were beat up (on Sunday). We had a chance to come out today on fresh greens, better weather and be able to see a lot better.”
The five-times major champion will get a chance to complete the career grand slam when the U.S. Open is played at Pebble Beach in June, but Mickelson wants to savor his latest success first.
“Every time I get here I have such feelings of gratitude that all that this place has done for my family, starting with my grandfather,” he said.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Pritha Sarkar)
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