Fifth Pebble Beach victory makes Mickelson's wait worth it

Ross Houston
February 13, 2019

This was his fifth win at Pebble Beach, a handsome golf course that he clearly knows very well and is also staging the US Open this year.

Having won his first title on the Challenge Tour last summer, he went on to finish 14th in the order of merit and earn promotion to the European Tour.

Nobody has ever won a major championship at the age Mickelson is at now, but then again, not too many players have had the confidence to play two holes essentially blindfolded - as he wanted to do to finish this off Sunday night instead of Monday morning.

Mickelson is one of three players looking to complete their collection of all four majors this year.

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The popular lefthander has been a US Open regular since Irwin's victory nearly 29 years ago and he's finished second an incredible six times in the event. "I know a lot can happen in these two holes and they have happened in the past, so I want to stay focused and just come out tomorrow and try to finish it off".

It was a decision Mickelson clearly disagreed with, visibly shaking his head when the horn blew to officially halt play. Casey and FedEx executive Don Colleran had a one-shot lead in the pro-am.

Mickelson had not won on USA soil since the 2013 Phoenix Open.

Casey was pleased to join Colleran as a Pro-Am champion after a near miss a year ago.

Casey called Mickelson's effort "a phenomenal round of golf" but added: "It's not over yet".

Sam Saunders, whose grandfather Arnold Palmer was among the Pebble Beach owners, scooped up hail and tossed it like a snowball.

The course will be completely different in June, with the rough taller and the greens firmer and no amateurs to take the edge off the proceedings.

He started the day three shots off Casey's lead but roared to the top of the leaderboard with six birdies that put him 18-under for the tournament with two holes remaining. 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 complete two holes in six minutes. A disgusting tee-shot was followed by a chip that failed to find the green and a third that wasn't much better and after a fast start, which had seen him birdie the first two holes and three of the first five, and following a run of 11 straight pars, the 38-year-old Aussie missed his bogey attempt and tapped in for a double-bogey five.

Scot Russell Knox closed at nine under after a fourth-round level-par 72, one shot clear of Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell.

Pebble Beach was so soft that balls were plugging in the fairway when they landed.

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