Phil Mickelson won golf’s Phoenix Open with a four-round total of 28-under par 256, securing his first victory in almost a year with the second-best score for a 72-hole event in U.S. PGA Tour history.
Mickelson, 42, started the tournament at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course by shooting a first-round 11-under par 60, one stroke off the lowest score in an official PGA Tour event. He finished it with his 41st career victory, four shots better than runner-up Brandt Snedeker.
Mickelson’s total was two off the PGA Tour’s record score of 254 for a 72-hole event set by Tommy Armour III at the 2003 Texas Open. Mickelson matched Mark Calcavecchia’s 28-under 256, which was also set at the Phoenix Open in 2001.
“It’s been a very fun and special week,” Mickelson said after shooting a 4-under-par 67 during yesterday’s final round. “All I cared about was getting a win because I hadn’t won in a while and hadn’t been in contention. To hit the shots that I hit on the back side, which was enough to win the tournament, that’s what I take away more than any of those records.”
Mickelson now has at least one PGA Tour title in 20 of the past 23 years and moved within four of Walter Hagen for the eighth-most wins in history. Only Sam Snead (24) and Jack Nicklaus (21) have won at least one PGA Tour event in more years than Mickelson, who last went without a victory in 2003, the longest active streak on tour.
An Arizona State graduate, Mickelson now has six PGA Tour titles in Arizona, matching Johnny Miller for the most all-time wins in the state.
Mickelson jumped atop the leaderboard with an opening-round 60 on Jan. 31, when he just missed birdie putts on the final two holes and fell short of becoming the sixth golfer to shoot a round of 59 in an official PGA Tour event.
Mickelson followed that with rounds of 65 and 64 to take a six-shot lead into the final day. He had five birdies and a bogey yesterday to join Steve Jones (1997) as the only golfers since 1970 to lead the Phoenix Open from start to finish.
Mickelson receives $1.1 million for his latest win, which comes just over a week after he apologized for his complaints about income taxes that drew public criticism. The winner of four major golf titles, Mickelson had said during last month’s Humana Challenge in La Quinta, California, that he’d have to make “drastic changes” due to new U.S. and California tax laws. He apologized before last week’s PGA Tour event in La Jolla, California, saying finances and taxes are a personal matter.
The PGA Tour now moves to the Monterey Peninsula in California for the $6.5 million Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where Mickelson is the defending champion.
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