PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Swing Update) – Phil Mickelson is getting closer to three decades of the PGA Tour and half a century on Earth, and he still feels his best golf is enough.
He was at his best at Pebble Beach and no one had a chance.
The arrival of Monday in the rain and hail storm was only a minor inconvenience for Mickelson, 48 years old. He played two holes as well as the previous 16 and tweaked his final phase without a bogey with one last birdie for a score of 7 under 65 and a three-time win over Paul Casey at the AT-T Pebble Beach Pro- Am.
Mickelson won at Pebble Beach for the fifth time, matching the record set by Mark O 'Meara. He has spent 28 years since his first win and 44th PGA Tour victory. He joined Tiger Woods as the only player to have exceeded $ 90 million in career earnings.
"It's a lot more work and effort to play at this level," said Mickelson. "And I've been thinking for a while now that if I play at my best level, it will be good enough to win tournaments, the challenge is to get me to play at my best level.It's a lot more work outside of course, it's longer to go to the gym, it's more time to eat, more time to focus, it's all those things that come into play.
"And so it's gratifying to see the results and finish them as I did them."
Pebble Beach is doing its part. He made his professional debut at the US Open in 1992, where he won the first of his five titles in another finish on Monday, in 1998, this one in August because of the rain. It is here that his grandfather, Al Santos, was among the first caddies to open the course in 1919, and Mickelson still uses as a marker the 1900 silver dollar that his grandfather had kept in his pocket to remind him that he was not poor.
There was a lot of sun for the end of Monday morning, but no drama.
Mickelson, who started the final round with three laps late, never failed a boguey and built a three-shot lead on 16 holes Sunday night when it was too dark to finish, no matter how hard he was. he has deployed to continue.
The last round of Sunday had been delayed for one hour initially because of the rain, then the sun quickly gave way to hail that covered the greens with a blanket of white and was causing a delay of two o'clock.
Mickelson said he could "see very well" even after sunset, knowing that night was falling quickly on the Monterey Peninsula. Casey could barely see the 3 feet of grass between his ball and the cup on the 16th hole and said there was no way to finish two holes in six minutes. Mickelson was on the 17th tee, shaking his head when he heard the siren stop playing.
On Monday morning, he had a change of heart and said that he was thanking Casey for his position.
"Paul made the difficult decision, but it was the right decision insofar as he was protecting and protecting myself for the competition," said Mickelson. "I just got into my own little bubble and I do not see the big picture."
It worked well in the end.
Mickelson finished at 26 and under, 268. Casey needed Mickelson to make a big mistake on the last two holes, and that was unlikely to happen. Casey had at least one birdie in 18th place for a 71 to finish alone in second place, the difference of $ 152,000.
He also won the Pro-Am with Don Colleran, FedEx Sales Manager.
But the last day, and all week, was devoted to Mickelson ageless.
This was the fourth time Casey had a 54-hole lead of at least two shots on the PGA Tour and had not won. The other three times he was 2-over par or worse in the last round. This time, he finished with a 71 and a loss to Mickelson (65), which is the lowest score of the last round.
"A phenomenal round of golf," Casey said.
The longest au pair Mickelson putt was 4 feet. He played the last 26 holes in cold, wet and windy weather without bogey.
The way it bodes for the rest of the year – especially in June when the American Open returns to Pebble Beach – did not bother Mickelson. The American Open remains the last Grand Slam playoff game for Mickelson, who already holds the record with six finals. He finished three shots behind Graeme McDowell in 2010, the last US Open at Pebble.
And although the fairway lines are already much tighter at Pebble, the conditions were so soft that bullets close up in the fairway when they land and the greens are easily fired, even roughly.
"It's not like the course we'll see," said Mickelson. "I'm going to take care of it in six months."
Mickelson lives for the moment. He said he had as much fun winning at Pebble Beach as when he finished with a late shot in the Desert Classic three weeks ago.
It's the thrill of competition. And even at age 48, it never gets old.