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: Gr…

It Is What It Is Cast: Gronk will continue to smash and dash

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Rob Gronkowski's meeting with the media on Friday. Gronk said he doesn't anticipate changing the way he plays, noting that he wants to "keep smashing and dashing."

Julian Edelman After Patriots Practice, 7-25-14

Julian Edelman joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz after Patriots training camp.

Peter King of MMQB with Dale and Holley

We return to our weekly segments with the one and only Peter King of MMQB and NBC's Football Night in America.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Bo…

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, "I think Rondo is going to go, I just don't see where and how yet" 7-17-14

Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston: I believe Rondo will be traded 7-10-14

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.

OK State Men's Basketball coach, Travis Ford, joins MFB to talk about Marcus Smart, 6-30-14

Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.

Kevin Millar, MLB Network…

Kevin Millar, MLB Network: David Ortiz not afraid of David Price, 7-25-14

Kevin Millar joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz to discuss David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia's struggles, and Jon Lester's contract.

Jon Daniels, Texas Rangers GM, Joins the Trade Deadline Show, 7-24-14

Texas Rangers General Manager, Jon Daniels, joins Rob Bradford and Alex Speier to discuss the upcoming trade deadline.

Trade Deadline Show, 7-24-14

A full version of the Trade Deadline show hosted by Rob Bradford and Alex Speier. Featuring an interview with Texas Rangers GM, Jon Daniels.

The Bradfo Show: Talking …

The Bradfo Show: Talking Bruins roster moves with DJ Bean, Turtleboy

Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.

DJ Bean breaks down the first hours of NHL Free Agency 7-1-14

DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla

DJ Bean, WEEI.com. The Bruins are not traded Marchand 6-13-14

DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau

Kirk Minihane on what mot…

Kirk Minihane on what motivates the media 7-25-14

Kirk breaks down the media criticism he has received.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Dogs understand everything 7-25-14

The stories of the day brought to you by Kirk Minihane

Roger Goodell lets Ray Rice off easy 7-25-14

Dino, Meter and Kirk discuss the light punishment given to Ray Rice by the NFL.

Kevin Millar, MLB Network…

Kevin Millar, MLB Network: David Ortiz not afraid of David Price, 7-25-14

Kevin Millar joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz to talk about David Ortiz, the struggles of Dustin Pedroia, and the Jon Lester contract.

Julian Edelman After Patriots Practice, 7-25-14

Patriots Wide Receiver Julian Edelman joins Merloni, Fauria, and Benz after Patriots training camp.

Drug Abuse ve. Domestic Violence: Fair Comparison, 7-25-14

Given the recent Ray Rice suspension, many people are comparing it to Josh Gordon getting suspended for repeated drug abuse. Tim Benz doesn't think this is a fair comparison. He explains why.

Gronk being Gronk: Althou…

Gronk being Gronk: Although limited in practice, GRONK IS BACK

We discuss the return of Rob Gronkowski, his comments to the media today, and what a healthy (or unhealthy) Gronk will mean for the 2014 Patriots.

NFL setting a strange precedent by only suspending Raven's RB Ray Rice for 2 games

We discuss the suspension of Ray Rice, and how the act he committed certainly seemed like it warranted a harsher penalty from the strict front office of Roger Goodell.

Dale and Holley's Four at Four - Dumbass Fan Behavior Edition - 7-25-14

We tackle four topics, all sparked by our interest in the story about the Browns fan peeing on Art Modell's grave this past week.

Jon Lester's Contract Sit…

Jon Lester's Contract Situation and the Future

Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.

The All Star Game and the Worst Ideas in Sports

Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.

We're all yelling about LeBron James

Ian Browne reflects on 10…

Ian Browne reflects on 10th anniversary of Red Sox-Yankees brawl

A compelling case can be made that July 24, 2004, represents as significant a landmark as any date in modern Red Sox history. On that day, a memorable brawl between the Red Sox and Yankees served as a catalyst for an epic 10-9 walkoff victory for the Red Sox over New York and indomitable closer Mariano Rivera, a game cited by many members of the 2004 team as pivotal in Boston's first championship run in 86 years. Ian Browne, who covers the Red Sox for MLB.com and authored Idiots Revisited, discusses the landmark game.

Fantasy Football Podcast July 24th Edition

With Training Camp starting this Thursday and the August Draft Season inching closer, Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson are ramping up the Fantasy Football content to meet the demand! Today’s podcast gives an in depth look at Pete’s Top 50 Wide Receivers Article that is LIVE on WEEI.com right now. Pete breaks down the receivers by Tiers and the podcast gives full analysis of those Tiers and the players who occupy these spots and why. Get prepared for your drafts and enjoy!

Danny O Show - Canelo vs Lara recap, Ronnie Shields

Danny breaks down the Canelo vs Lara fight and the controversy. Mike Tyson's former trainer Ronnie Shields joins the show.

Kirk Minihane on what mot…

Kirk Minihane on what motivates the media 7-25-14

Kirk breaks down the media criticism he has received.

More from this show

Peter King: In New Englan…

Peter King: In New England Darrelle Revis will show why he's a top 2 corner in football

We return to our weekly segments with the one and only Peter King of MMQB and NBC's Football Night in America.

More from this show

Larry Lucchino says the S…

Larry Lucchino says the Sox have tabled contract talks with Jon Lester 7-24-14

Larry Lucchino discussed the latest on the contract talks with Jon Lester.

More from this show

Christian Fauria reviews …

Christian Fauria reviews his Madden ratings 7-24-14

EA Sports released its QB ratings for Madden 15, placing Tom Brady tied for 4th with Russell Wilson. The discussion quickly shifted to Christian's Madden ratings and his perceived lack of awareness

More from this show

Minihane returns 7-23-14

Minihane returns 7-23-14

The triumphant return of Kirk Minihane.

More from this show

Weei Writers