Mickelson registers 30th career win

Phil Mickelson has won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by five shots on Sunday.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Pebble Beach:Phil Mickelson got his season on track Sunday by closing with a 6-under 66 under surprising sunshine to tie the tournament record at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and win by five shots for the 30th victory of his career. Mickelson overcame a double bogey with a lost ball early in the round with three birdies in a four-hole stretch along the ocean, turning a tight race into another runaway. He matched the largest margin of victory at this tournament, winning by five shots over Kevin Sutherland. It was the 11th time in 15 seasons that Mickelson won on the US PGA Tour's "West Coast Swing." He had started his season slowly, renewing criticism of his collapse at the US Open, when he chopped his way to a double bogey on the final hole to lose the title. Mickelson finished at 20-under 268, tying the tournament record at Pebble Beach set in 1997 by Mark O'Meara. He earned $990,000 making him the third person in US golf tour history to surpass $40 million in career earnings. Sutherland, in the final group for the second time in three weeks, hit over the ninth green and took double bogey to fall out of contention. He also missed a half-dozen putts inside eight feet, but his birdie on the 18th for a 71 gave him second place and kept Mickelson from the largest margin of victory since singer Bing Crosby created this tournament in 1937. Third win John Mallinger, a 27-year-old rookie, closed with a 71 and finished third. He had the lead for about 15 minutes after making birdie on the par-5 sixth, while Mickelson in the group behind him lost his tee shot and took double bogey on No 5. Mickelson, however, dropped only one shot the rest of the round and easily won Pebble Beach for the third time in his career. O'Meara with five titles at Pebble is the only player with more. "This is exciting," Mickelson said. "I've gotten off to a good start. It gives me momentum, and I can't wait for next week and the upcoming majors. I'm really excited about the year." When asked about his US Open collapse during the trophy presentation, Mickelson referred it to as the "Winged Foot thing," and how it taught him that he needed to improve his driving. That was what he did best this week, hitting it every shape and trajectory he wanted, usually in the short grass. He missed only one fairway in the final round. Sutherland missed six putts inside eight feet on the first 10 holes, including a three-putt from six feet on the 11th. What stung was a six-footer that caught the left lip on No 7, which would have put his nose out front in what had been a close race. On the next hole, he missed from seven feet as Mickelson took the lead for good. Mallinger acquitted himself nicely in only his eighth career start on tour, and first time in contention. He didn't made bogey until the 11th hole, but fell too far behind with a three-putt from 12 feet on the par-five 14th.

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