Mickelson defeats Thomas in playoff, wins WGC-Mexico

Phil Mickelson shot a final-round 66 and made par on the first extra hole to defeat Justin Thomas in a playoff, win the WGC-Mexico Championship and end a four-and-a-half-year winless drought. Here’s how Lefty finally broke through Sunday in Mexico:

Leaderboard: Mickelson (-16), Thomas (-16), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-15), Tyrell Hatton (-15), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-13), Brian Harman (-13)

What it means: This is Mickelson’s 43rd PGA Tour victory and his first since the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield. Two back to start the day and two down to an in-the-clubhouse Thomas with four holes to play, Mickelson birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to reach 16 under par. Two more birdie tries at 17 and 18 burned the edge and came up well short, respectively. On the first extra hole, the par-3 17th, Mickelson’s birdie effort lipped out, but his tap-in par was good enough for the victory. And now, for the first time in almost five years, 47-year-old Phil Mickelson is back in the winner’s circle.

Best of the rest: In the playoff, Thomas flew his tee shot on 17 over the green and nearly had his ball stepped on by a cameraman. After leaving his chip halfway to the hole, his par putt to extend missed on the high side, leaving Mickelson to celebrate.

Round of the day: Thomas circled Nos. 1, 2 and 6 to turn in 3-under 32. On his second nine, he added three more birdies at 10, 12, and 15, the last of which gave him the outright lead. Two holes later, he dropped his only stroke of the day when he three-putted from 41 feet at 17. And then, buckets – Thomas holed out for eagle from 119 yards at 18 to take the clubhouse lead by two. After starting the weekend 11 back following rounds of 72-70, Thomas went 62-64 over the weekend to shoot 16 under in two days.

Biggest disappointment: The overnight leader by two, Shubhankar Sharma played his first holes even par and then bogeyed four of the last six to shoot 3-over 74 and finish six back. The 21-year-old Race to Dubai leader was making his first WGC start via two European Tour trophies this season.

Shot of the day: Thomas’ 72nd-hole dunk:

Quote of the day: “I don’t know what to say. It has been a tough go the last four years. Not playing my best, but having the belief that I was going to get there and finally break through and to do it feels incredible. I believe that more is to come.” – Mickelson

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