Phil Mickelson Wins 5th AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Hadwin Top Canadian
Phil Mickelson Picked Up His Fifth Victory In The Pebble Beach Pro-Am With Abbotsford's Adam Hadwin (Inset) Finishing As Top Canadian - Mickelson Image Credit www.tourprogolfclubs.com
By Alfie Lau
Phil Mickelson had the most enjoyable 32-minute victory lap at Pebble Beach Monday morning as he and Paul Casey finished their final two holes and Mickelson walked away with a three-stroke victory after a (-7) round of 65.
MIckelson overtook Casey, the third-round leader by three, with a mistake-free final round that started an hour late Sunday because of inclement weather, was interrupted for another two hours because of a freak hailstorm, and then grinded along until sunset. Mickelson had made his par putt on 16 and with just six minutes left of daylight, hoped Casey would continue and try to finish the round in darkness.
But Casey, with second place to protect, chose as is his right, to mark his short par putt at 16 and come back Monday to play on rolled and true greens.
It was a decision Mickelson would thank Casey for prior to Monday’s restart and, in the end, everybody was a winner because Casey birdied the 18th hole to take solo second, one stroke ahead of Scott Stallings, who had also come to the course Monday, just in case Mickelson faltered and there was a playoff needed.
Casey’s amateur partner, FedEx executive Don Colleran, was also a winner because not only did he get the rare privilege of playing meaningful Monday golf alongside Mickelson and Casey, he captured the amateur title with Casey by two strokes.
Another winner was California pro Max Homa, who had gained notoriety a week earlier for Monday qualifying for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, donning a Los Angeles Dodgers jersey on the 16th hole at Scottsdale, only to three-putt for bogey and an endless parade of jeers.
On Sunday, Homa looked like he had tied for 11th place, but when Scott Piercy rushed to finish in the darkness at Pebble Beach, he three-putted, falling back a spot and moving Homa up to T10. That meant Homa gained entry into the Genesis Open in Los Angeles without having to play his way in today.
Fans were also big winners because entry to Monday’s three-man, two-hole 32-minute showcase was free, as was entry to 17-Mile Drive, which means a lot of tourists were driving out to the Lone Cypress Monday afternoon to take pictures.
That was in sharp contrast to Sunday at Pebble Beach, which was as bizarre and surreal a final round as longtime Pebble Beach veterans can remember. A week marred by bad weather had gone as well as could be expected until the hailstorm hit.
Many greens were covered in white, as if it had snowed on the Monterey Peninsula, and it would take the overworked greens crew until past noon before play could re-start. Casey and Mickelson, in the final group, didn’t get their initial tee balls into the air until 1:09 p.m.
The course had also been soaked by several inches of rain Saturday night and Sunday morning, making a stroll at Pebble Beach quite a muddy slog.
Casey had started the round with a three-stroke advantage over Mickelson and Lucas Glover, but in a five-hole stretch from the 9th to the 13th, Mickelson gained a stroke on each hole, via three Mickelson birdies and two Casey bogeys, to overturn the deficit and take it to a two-shot lead that he would extend to three by the time darkness hit at Pebble Beach.
Mickelson’s win is his fifth at Pebble Beach, tying Mark O’Meara and portends good things for the Hall of Famer who will turn 49 on the Sunday of the U.S. Open this June. And where will this U.S. Open be contested? Pebble Beach.
Mickelson downplayed the significance of his win at Pebble Beach – his first on U.S. soil since the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open (although Mickelson won the 2013 British Open and a 2018 WGC in Mexico City) – because Pebble will have much more penal rough and greens rolling almost twice as fast as waterlogged Pebble this week, but it will surely be a confidence booster for Mickelson to win on the PGA TOUR for the second straight year after a drought that lasted five years.
Mickelson already has had a memorable 2019 campaign. After leading the 60th Anniversary Desert Classic in Palm Springs until the final hole, he seemed out of sorts in Phoenix last week, missing the cut and leaving the media in the lurch after his Friday round. But the win in Pebble, along with his announcement last week that he will play in Los Angeles this week and then defend in Mexico next week, sets Mickelson up for a great year.
Adam Hadwin finished as top Canadian at T18 after an even-par 72 that featured just one birdie and one bogey. Hadwin’s (-8) total was two better than Ledgeview clubmate Nick Taylor, who fashioned a (-1) round of 71 that featured three birdies and two bogeys. Taylor finished at (-6), good for a T28 finish. The third Canadian who played Sunday was Ontario’s Ben Silverman, who shot a (+1) round of 73 to finish at (-4) and T45, alongside such luminaries as Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.