Phoenix's favourite son secures 41st title

Tue, Feb 5, 2013, 00:00

The marshal at the first hole at TPC Scottsdale introduced Phil Mickelson on Sunday by mentioning his three Masters victories and two Phoenix Open titles but not his city of residence.

The omission said a lot about how Mickelson is viewed here. For more than a decade, he has lived in his native California, but to the locals, Mickelson will always be Phoenix’s favourite son.

There was no question who had the home-course advantage for the fourth round, and it was not Brandt Snedeker from Nashville or Pádraig Harrington of Dublin as Mickelson’s playing partners were identified on the first tee.

For Mickelson, Phoenix is where he put together one of the most decorated college golfing careers, at Arizona State, where he met his wife, Amy, where the couple purchased their first home, in the Paradise Valley suburb.

It is where two of his three children were born, where he earned two of his tour titles and posted his two lowest rounds as a professional.

And it is where he secured his 41st PGA Tour title with a four-stroke victory over Snedeker, who was the runner-up for the second consecutive week. Mickelson carded a four-under-par 67, two strokes higher than Snedeker, for a 72-hole total of 28 under to tie Mark Calcavecchia’s 12-year-old lowest score in tournament history.

It was Mickelson’s first wire-to-wire victory since the 2006 BellSouth Classic. “It’s an important one for me because it’s been a while since I won, been a while since I’ve been in contention,” said Mickelson, whose last victory was 51 weeks ago, at Pebble Beach.

Mickelson began the day with a six-stroke lead. Snedeker played the final 36 holes in 12 under, with a bogey, and gained one stroke.

After making an eagle at the third on his way to a 62, the days second-lowest score, Ryan Palmer turned to his caddie and said, “Ten back.” Palmer finished alone in fifth, nine back. Scott Piercy tied his career low with a 61 to leap into third at 23 under. Harrington’s 70 saw him finish on 17-under par, in a tie for ninth place.

– New York Times

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