PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Phil Mickelson put himself on the point of a fifth victory within the AT&T Pebble Seashore pro-am by turning a three-shot deficit right into a three-shot lead when a wild day of climate saved him from ending Sunday.
Mickelson was bogey-free with six birdies, and he made his huge run beginning with a 9-iron to a foot behind the cup on the par-Four ninth. That was begin of a five-hole stretch when Mickelson made three birdies and Paul Casey had two bogeys.
About the one factor that did not go Mickelson’s method was the timing. The ultimate spherical began an hour late due to rain, after which it was delayed two extra hours when sunshine gave method to a hail storm in a matter of minutes, masking the placing greens in a sheet of white. Mickelson was at 18-under par via 16 holes. Casey had a 3-foot par putt on the identical gap when Mickelson tried to foyer for them to complete, even at the hours of darkness.
“I can see positive,” Mickelson advised a guidelines official. “I do not need to put Paul in a nasty spot.”
Casey was at 15 beneath, tied with Scott Stallings, who closed with a 66. Together with an outdoor likelihood at forcing a playoff, ending alone in second as an alternative of a tie is a distinction of $152,000, together with world rating factors and FedEx Cup factors. Casey and FedEx govt Don Colleran had a one-shot lead within the pro-am.
“I do not see how we will end,” Casey stated as they walked up the 16th fairway. “We won’t end two holes in six minutes. I would wish to.”
Mickelson was standing on the 17th tee when he heard the horn sound to cease play, and he shook his head.
The remainder of his day was much better than the climate. Mickelson is on the verge of profitable for the 44th time in his profession, and matching Mark O’Meara with 5 victories at a match he first performed in 1995. It additionally could be his first victory on American soil because the Phoenix Open six years in the past. He gained the British Open that summer time in Scotland, and the Mexico Championship final yr.
His sensible play nonetheless shared the stage with climate that was weird even by Pebble requirements. Mickelson and Casey had been ready to tee off when clouds moved in shortly moved in, and rain become hail that pounded umbrellas, lots of them held sideways to account for the wind. Greens shortly had been coated by the tiny white pellets, and employees went from utilizing squeegees for extra water to energy blowers to take away the hail.
Sam Saunders, whose grandfather Arnold Palmer was among the many Pebble Seashore homeowners, scooped up hail and tossed it like a snowball. Patrick Reed’s brother laid on his again and tried to make a snow angel. There was by no means an affordable likelihood to complete in his pro-am format, with largely foursomes throughout the golf course.
Casey has by no means gained in three earlier instances he had a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, all of them by two pictures or extra, and he was holding his personal towards the relentless pursuit of Mickelson, who missed three straight birdie putts from the 12-foot vary by the slimmest margins. Casey had nice par saves, after which Mickelson took off.
After his 9-iron right into a foot at No. 9 to get inside one shot, Mickelson holed a 12-foot birdie on the 10th with a drive that hugged the proper aspect of the green and sure would have bounced into the ocean if not for circumstances so mushy from rain that balls plugged the place they landed.
Casey blinked first with a bogey on the 11th gap, and one other on the par-3 12th when his tee shot got here up brief and into the bunker. Mickelson poured it on, displaying his abilities haven’t deteriorated a bit at age 48, controlling spin fantastically to again pin positions. He simply did not need to keep one other day.
“I get the place Paul is coming from,” Mickelson stated. “We will have a superb likelihood to come back out on contemporary greens. I’ve good imaginative and prescient, I can see positive and I wished to proceed. In all honesty, it is a good factor to play the final two holes in contemporary circumstances.”
Some gamers completed at the hours of darkness with no likelihood of profitable, however confirmed the impact of taking part in with out gentle. Scott Piercy had a 15-foot putt that was barely uphill, and he nonetheless ran it 7 toes by the opening and three-putted for bogey. Jason Day closed with a 68 and was tied for fourth at 13-under 175 with Si Woo Kim (68).