PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Phil Mickelson has given everything for Sunday in the Pro-Am of AT & T Pebble Beach.
He just could not beat the darkness.
On a day of good weather, even by the standards of Pebble Beach, the sun gave way to a hail storm that covered the greens with a layer of white in minutes. The delay prevented Mickelson from completing a remarkable rally in which he turned the deficit of three shots against Paul Casey in advance of three shots until it was too dark to finish the last two holes.
Mickelson at least wanted to try.
"I can see," he told an official of the PGA Tour rules as he was walking up the 16th fairway. "I do not want to put Paul in a bad position."
Casey just could not see and we realized that it was not possible to finish the 18 holes. "We can not finish two holes in six minutes," he told the official. He chose to score his ball in the 16th green.
Mickelson had already made his normal on the 16th and had 6 cents for the day, no bogeys on his card, and 18 under for the tournament. Casey has a putt 3 feet a foot to stay three strokes back when they come back to Monday at 8 am to play normal 3 to the 3 and the 18th to the normal 5.
Losing the late start – an hour after the rain, two hours of suspension – was simply great from 48 – year – old Mickelson, who did not fail to bogey and was on the verge of trouble. a fifth. Pro-Am victory at AT & T Pebble Beach.
His first was also a Monday, when players returned in August – more than six months later – to finish the third round of the tournament to make it official.
"We still have two difficult holes and I do not want to jump the wire and miss out on that," said Mickelson. "I know a lot of things can happen in these two holes and that they've happened in the past. So I want to stay focused and just come tomorrow to try and finish it. I would like us to do it tonight. "
Mickelson made his big run starting with a 9-foot iron behind the ninth-par cup. It was the beginning of a five-hole sequence when Mickelson made three birdies and Paul Casey had two bogeys, passing Lefty from two to three behind.
"I did not do anything. I made good golf shots and got nothing today, "said Casey. "Phil has organized a spectacular round of golf so far – 6 under, no lost shots. Remarkable things. "
Even though Mickelson strongly hinted that he wanted to finish – at one point, suggesting that they play the 17th and that he could spin in advance to have a ball in play on the 18th so that at least he could finish – Casey maintained his position.
Casey was at 15 under, tied with Scott Stallings, who curled with a score of 66. With an outside chance of forcing the playoffs, finishing alone in second place instead of a tie is a difference of $ 152,000 , with world ranking points and points from the FedEx Cup. . Casey and Don Colleran, FedEx executive, had a one-shot lead in the pro-am.
Mickelson was standing on the 17th tee when he heard the sound of the horn to stop playing and he shook his head.
The rest of his day was much better than the weather.
Mickelson is about to win for the 44th time in his career and match Mark O'Meara to five wins in a tournament he first played in 1995.
It would also be his first victory on American soil since the Phoenix Open six years ago. He won the British Open this summer in Scotland and the Mexican championship last year.
His brilliant room still shared the scene with a weird weather, even by Pebble standards.
Mickelson and Casey were waiting for the arrival of the clouds when the clouds settled quickly, and the rain turned into hail that pounded the umbrellas, number of them kept aside to account for the wind.
The greens were quickly covered by the tiny white pellets and the workers began using squeegees to remove excess water in order to operate the blowers to eliminate hail.
Sam Saunders, whose grandfather Arnold Palmer was one of the owners of Pebble Beach, picked up the hail and projected it like a snowball. Patrick Reed's brother lay on his back and tried to create a snow angel.
He never had a reasonable chance to finish in his pro-am format, with mostly foursomes on the golf course.
Casey had never won three times before, he had a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, both two or more shots, and he was defending against the relentless pursuit of Mickelson, who had missed three putts. consecutive birds of the Range of 12 feet by the thinnest margins. Casey had a great average, and then Mickelson took off.
After passing the 9th iron in a foot to ninth goal to get a shot, Mickelson managed a birdie of 12 feet on the 10th with a practice that hugged the right side of the fairway and would likely have jumped into the ocean it was not there. conditions so soft against the rain that bullets are blocked where they landed.
Casey blinked first with a bogey at the 11th hole and another at the 12th par-3 when his tee shot fell right into the bunker. Mickelson used it to show that his skills had not deteriorated a bit at age 48, magnificently controlling player turnover.
He just did not want to stay one more day.
"I understand where Paul comes from," said Mickelson. "We are going to have a good chance to get out of the fresh greens. I have good vision, I see well and I wanted to continue. In all honesty, it's a good thing to play the last two holes in cool conditions. "
Some players finished in the dark without any chance of winning, but showed the effect of playing without light. Scott Piercy had a 15-foot putt slightly uphill, and he was still running 7 feet from the hole and three points for the bogey.
Jason Day finished with a 68 and tied for fourth with 175 under 13 with Si Woo Kim (68).