Sports and Scores
 

Phil Mickelson finishes off Phoenix Open victory

(AP Photo/Matt York)

By JOHN NICHOLSON


Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Phil Mickelson's 5-iron shot sailed long and right on the par-3 seventh, stopping an inch from the fringe and leaving him in danger of losing at least a stroke to playing partner Brandt Snedeker.

Mickelson ended up leaving Snedeker shaking his head and went on to complete a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Phoenix Open.

Fifty-five feet away, with a mound and a 20-foot swath of fringe between his ball and the hole, Mickelson decided to putt through the taller grass rather than chip over it. He had caddie Jim Mackay remove the flagstick so that it wouldn't deflect the ball if it had too much speed, a move that proved wise when the ball raced into the cup.

"The challenge of that was to judge the speed where half the putt is through fringe and half is on the green," Mickelson said. "I got lucky to have made it, obviously. I was just trying to two-putt it. It was going fairly quickly when it got to the hole, probably would have been 6, 8 feet by. With Brandt in there close, that was a big momentum change."

Snedeker joked with Mickelson for a moment before holing his own birdie putt.

"Are you kidding me?" Snedeker said about his reaction to the putt. "I fully expected Phil to hit a flop shot from there. He didn't have much of a putt, and he putted through it.

"I hit a great shot in there close and I thought, `Hey, I can get one on him here and put some pressure on him.' He makes that, and he let me hear about it before I putt, and he let me know that I needed to make that to tie. We had fun with it. That's Phil being Phil."

Mickelson shot a 4-under 67 to finish at 28-under 256, two strokes off the PGA Tour record of 254 set by Tommy Armour III in the 2003 Texas Open. The 42-year-old former Arizona State star won after struggling the last two weeks - tying for 37th at La Quinta in his opener and 51st at Torrey Pines - and making news by talking about tax increases.

"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," Mickelson said. "I was certainly nervous heading into today. I think the thing I'm most excited about was the way I was able to regain control of my thoughts after a few shots early on that I didn't care for."

Mickelson missed a chance for a 59 in the first round when his birdie putt on the final hole caught the right edge of the cup, curled 180 degrees and stayed out. He settled for a 60 and followed with rounds of 65 and 64 to take a six-stroke lead into the final round.

"I think that sets up the tone for the rest of the year, because I really started to play well," Mickelson said. "But for me, the rest of the year took a turn on Tuesday when I got my new driver. It just changed my whole deal."

Snedeker finished second, four strokes back after a 65.

"Sometimes you have to tip your hat and say, `Phil played unbelievable and deserved to win,'" Snedeker said. "That's kind of what this week was all about."

Mickelson took a three-stroke lead to the 17th tee, and nearly drove into the left-side water on the drivable par 4, his ball stopping a yard short of the hazard. He flopped his second shot 15 feet past the hole and made the birdie putt.

Mickelson parred the par-4 18th after another drive to the left, one that easily cleared the water he hit into Friday en route to a double bogey, and Snedeker closed with a bogey.

Mickelson had his third wire-to-wire victory and first since the 2006 BellSouth Classic - a 13-stroke blowout the week before the second of his three Masters victories. He pushed his victory total to 41, winning for the first time since 51 weeks ago at Pebble Beach - where he will go for a record-tying fifth victory next weekend.

Making his 24th appearance in the event that he also won in 1996 and 2005, Mickelson tied the tournament scoring record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001, and joined Calcavecchia, Arnold Palmer and Gene Littler as the only three-time winners. With six victories in Arizona, Mickelson also matched Johnny Miller's tour record.

After three nearly cloudless days in the Valley of the Sun, the final round was played in overcast conditions. Light rain even fell for a few minutes as Mickelson finished warming up on the practice green and played the first hole.

As the rain stopped, Mickelson bogeyed the par-4 second. He rebounded with birdies on the two front-nine par 3s, pulling off the sensational putt on No. 7.

Snedeker pulled within three strokes with a birdie on the par-4 ninth, but Mickelson pushed the advantage back to four with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 13th, his fourth straight birdie on the hole. Snedeker saved par after his drive stopped under jumping cholla, forcing him to take a drop for an unplayable lie.

Mickelson matched Snedeker on the next two holes, saving par on the par-4 14th with a 10-foot putt and two-putting for birdie on the par-5 15th. Snedeker pulled within three again on the par-3 16th, hitting to 5 feet on the stadium hole, and matched Mickelson's birdie on 17.

Snedeker was coming off a second-place tie Monday at Torrey Pines, four strokes behind Tiger Woods in the fog-delayed event.

"I'm running into Hall of Famers every week," Snedeker said.

Scott Piercy shot a 61 to finish third at 23 under.

"These greens were amazing," Piercy said. "If you got it online, rolling, you made it."

DIVOTS: The crowd Sunday was estimated at 58,791 for a weekly total of 525,821, short of the record of 538,356 set in 2008. ... Mickelson was a course-record 9 under on the four par-3 holes and hit 63 of the 72 greens in a regulation. He has a 10-year winning streak, the longest active run on the tour, and has victories in 20 seasons, third behind Sam Snead (24) and Jack Nicklaus (21). Mickelson is ninth on the career victory list, four behind No. 8 Walter Hagen. Lefty also led wire-to-wire in 2005 at Pebble Beach.

Updated February 3, 2013

? © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Audio On Demand

It Is What It Is Cast: Lo…

It Is What It Is Cast: Logan Mankins, the offensive line, and Brandon Spikes' guarantee

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Christopher Price discuss Logan Mankins' breakdown of the offensive line and how it will look without Dante Scarnecchia. They also discussed Mankins' rebuttal to Brandon Spikes.

It Is What It Is Cast: Bill Parcells and Patriots Hall of Fame

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Bill Parcells' Patriots Hall of Fame candidacy.

CSNNE's Tom E. Curran Reports From NFL Owners Meetings

Tom Curran calls the show to discuss the Vince Wilfork contract situation. After texting with Vince this morning, Curran says that Vince's camp is possibly trying to put the "genie back in the lamp" and that the possibility of the Pro Bowl DT returning to the team has improved.

Celtics President Danny A…

Celtics President Danny Ainge with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We wrap up the Celtics season by speaking with Celtics president Danny Ainge about this past season and the team's future.

Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics Owner: Reflects on the Boston Marathon tragedy 4-15-4

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joins Mut and Merloni to discuss and reflect on the Boston Marathon Bombings a year later.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, on the Celtics, 4-10-14

Jackie MacMullan talks some Celtics with Mut and Merloni as the season is winding down and the team is positioned to have a high draft pick.

John Lackey with Joe and …

John Lackey with Joe and Dave after he pitches a great game to beat the Yankees

Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione talk with Red Sox pitcher John Lackey after he goes 8 solid innings in a great performance, while giving the Red Sox bullpen a night off. Lackey talks a little about what he thinks about Michael Pineda's ejection for having pine tar on his neck.

Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

We check in with John Farrell live from Fenway Park with Dale, Holley and Steve Lyons. We talk Boagearts, Buchholz, Pierzynski, Lester, the losing and much much more.

Tim Wakefield on the Red Sox tough start 4-23-14

Tim Wakefield discussed the Sox tough start to the season. He is optimistic that the guys can turn it around.

Andy Brickley, NESN: Reca…

Andy Brickley, NESN: Recaps Bruins vs Red Wings, Game 3

Andy Brickley, NESN; Joins Mut and Merloni to recap the Bruins win against the Red Wings in game 3

Shawn Thornton on the game 3 win in Detroit 4-23-14

Shawn Thornton joined the show to discuss the Bruins win last night over the Red Wings. Shawn talked about Marchand's agitator status within the league.

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports, Bruins- Red Wings 4-22-14

Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the program to talk about Game 3 between the Bruins and the Red Wings. He also discusses the issue of targeting player and weighs in on Matt Cooke's vicious knee hit to Tyson Barrie.

Shawn Thornton on the gam…

Shawn Thornton on the game 3 win in Detroit 4-23-14

Shawn Thornton joined the show to discuss the Bruins win last night over the Red Wings. Shawn talked about Marchand's agitator status within the league.

Tim Wakefield on the Red Sox tough start

Tim Wakefield discussed the Sox tough start to the season. He is optimistic that the guys can turn it around.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Colbert introduced on Letterman

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. The guys talked about Colbert joining Dave Letterman last night.

Aaron Boone, ESPN: Sox ha…

Aaron Boone, ESPN: Sox haven't been able to replace Ellsbury, 4-23-14

Aaron Boone joins Mut and Merloni to talk about the early season troubles the Red Sox have had and the defensive struggles.

Andy Brickley, NESN: Recaps Bruins vs Red Wings Game 3

Andy Brickley, NESN: Joins Mut and Merloni to recap the Bruins win against the Red Wings in game 3.

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports, Bruins- Red Wings 4-22-14

Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the program to talk about Game 3 between the Bruins and the Red Wings. He also discusses the issue of targeting player and weighs in on Matt Cooke's vicious knee hit to Tyson Barrie.

Dale and Holley's Four at…

Dale and Holley's Four at Four Milestone Editon - 4/23/14

We tackle four topics all revolving around big time milestones in sports.

John Farrell with Dale and Holley: Pierzynski just needs more familiarity with this pitching staff 4-23-14

We check in with John Farrell live from Fenway Park with Dale, Holley and Steve Lyons. We talk Boagearts, Buchholz, Pierzynski, Lester, the losing and much much more.

Holy Diver? Bruins win but focus switches to Brad Marchand's instigating tactics 4-23-14

We discuss the Bruins win to take a 2-1 lead in Detroit, and how Brad Marchand is once again (for better or worse) making his presence felt in a series. Hey, he may be a rat, but he's OUR rat.

Rick Middleton joins Plan…

Rick Middleton joins Planet Mikey

Nifty jumps on the Planet for an hour.

Red Sox lose to the Orioles 2-1 on Opening Day

Lou Merloni did play-by-play with Joe Castiglione today and then joined The Planet Mikey Show to talk about what went wrong, and a few things that went right as the Red Sox started their campaign to defend their World Series title.

Chris Price joins John Ryder to talk the Patriots' newest acquisition

WEEI.com's Chris Price joins John Ryder and Chris Villani on Planet Mikey to discuss the signing of Revis Island

Fantasy Football Off-Seas…

Fantasy Football Off-Season Podcast 4

The 4th addition of WEEI’s Fantasy Football Offseason Podcast is loaded and ready. In this week’s conversation Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson of Rotobahn.com dig into the sinking draft stock of Teddy Bridgewater (much too their chagrin), while refocusing and emphasizing the immense scouting work done by Pete on players like Bridgewater, Zach Mettenberger, Blake Bortles, Bishop Sankey & Lache Seastrunk. Also, Jim & Pete touch on news from around the league regarding new Jet, Chris Johnson, Montee Ball in Denver and help you tune out all of the negative noise some in the media are trying to push. We’re not buying! Lots of Football love in this podcast for the Football lover. Enjoy!

Pod Man Rush: DJ Bean and Greg Wyshynski on Bruins-Red Wings

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.

Minor Details Ep. 79: The meaning of winning in the minors with Carlos Febles, Evan Lepler

The Red Sox' High-A minor league team in Salem recently had a 16-game winning streak that spanned two seasons. So what? From the standpoint of making prospects better and fostering player development, does that matter? Salem manager Carlos Febles (who managed Salem for the end of their winning streak, but who was also in charge of a 50-87 Single-A Greenville team in 2013) and Salem radio play-by-play man Evan Lepler discuss -- while also touching on a number of prospects in search of the next Earl Weaver and Vinegar Bend Mizell.

Boston Marathon director …

Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray 4-22-14

Dave called in to discuss the epic Boston Marathon.

More from this show

Headlines, Headlines, Hea…

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: David Gregory is tanking 4-22-14

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed David Gregory's tanking Meet The Press ratings.

More from this show

A great Marathon Monday 4…

A great Marathon Monday 4-22-14

The guys opened the show by discussing yesterday's Boston Marathon and Kirk's run.

More from this show

Headlines, Headlines, Hea…

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Colbert introduced on Letterman

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. The guys talked about Colbert joining Dave Letterman last night.

More from this show

Patrice Bergeron with Dal…

Patrice Bergeron with Dale & Holley: Expect it to be tight-fought, back and forth all series with the Red Wings

Dale and Michael speak with Patrice Bergeron on the phone from Detroit on Marathon Monday fresh off a Bruins optional skate. Patrice talks about the B's slow start in game one, putting it all together for the team in game two, how the rest of this series might play out, and what this anniversary of the Boston Marathon means to him.

More from this show

Weei Writers