Phil Mickelson completes wire-to-wire Phoenix romp
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Phil Mickelson fired a four-under par 67 to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the USD 6.2 million US PGA Phoenix Open, capturing his 41st career title by four strokes.
It was the first time a player led every round alone on the way to a tour title since Rory McIlroy's breakthrough major triumph at the 2011 US Open.
"I played really good golf," Mickelson said yesterday. "This is how I've been playing for a while and it feels really good to get that golf out of me when I'm at a big tournament."
Together with a dominant victory a week ago by Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines, Mickelson's triumph showed that two of the game's most popular stars are in top early season form with the year's first major looming in April at the Masters.
The 42-year-old left-hander, a three-time Masters champion, won for the first time since last year's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
"It's important to start building momentum but it's more important what you do closer to Augusta," Mickelson said. "You have got to deal with some of the greatest pressure you will ever deal with at Augusta."
Mickelson missed out on the lowest 72-hole score in PGA history, a 26-under par 254 by Tommy Armour III at the 2003 Texas Open, but settled for a share of the second-lowest 72-hole tournament total in PGA history on 28-under par 256.
On Sunday, Mickelson took a bogey at the par-4 second, answered with birdies on the par-3 fourth and seventh holes, then closed with birdies on the par-5 13th and 15th holes as well as the par-4 17th.
"I was nervous at the start," Mickelson said. "When you haven't won (in a while), you want it bad. I had to get control of my thoughts after the first few holes. I had to think about what I wanted to do with my shots."