SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — 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.”
European PGA Tour
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Stephen Gallacher made an eagle on the 16th hole to win the Dubai Desert Classic, overcoming early jitters to beat playing partner Richard Sterne by three shots.
Gallacher finished with a 22-under total of 266. Looking for his first European Tour win since 2004, Gallacher (71) had a nervous start. The 111th-ranked Scotsman had a three-shot lead over Sterne but bogeyed the first two holes while Sterne birdied the second.
The two traded places several times after that, as each struggled in windy conditions.
European LPGA Tour
GOLD COAST, Australia — Karrie Webb won her eighth Australian Ladies Masters title, coming from two strokes behind in the final round with birdies on three of her last five holes for a 5-under-par 67 and a two-stroke victory.
The 38-year-old Webb birdied the 14th hole at Royal Pines to take the lead for the first time during the final round, and then tapped in for birdie after her eagle putt just missed on 15.
Webb finished with a 13- under-par total of 203 in the 54-hole tournament.