Phil Mickelson closed out victory at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am for a record-equalling fifth time, holding off Paul Casey in a weather-delayed finish. The US Open remains the final piece missing for him to complete the career grand lam, though Lefty was quick to caution that this week had no bearing on this summer.
Mickelson shot a bogey-free 65 in the final round at Pebble Beach, erasing a three-shot deficit to beat Paul Casey by three shots.
For years, Mickelson, 48, has rebuffed talk of his age, choosing to focus on aspects that encouraged him going forward even through a four-year stretch without a victory. Just as he and Casey were about to tee off for the start of their round on Sunday, severe weather hit the Monterey Peninsula, covering Pebble Beach in hailstones. Cold, wet weather that produced a hailstorm forcing a two-plus hour delay derailed his momentum. Casey had great par saves, and then Mickelson took off. "Let's play 17 and see how it goes".
With light rapidly fading, Mickelson posted two-putt pars over his next two holes and was keen to continue, but playing partner Casey held firm and discussed with PGA Tour officials that it was too dark to continue.
"As much as I would like to finish, it's probably a good thing", Mickelson said.
"He really protected both of us". The greens were beat up. "We're going to have a good chance to come out on fresh greens".
"Here I'm trying to hit the ball as far as I can, not anxious too much about the rough, balls plugging and we're able to clean it".
It also would be his first victory on American soil since the Phoenix Open six years ago.
"I just really enjoy this place".
"When guys get in their 40s, two things decline, their putting and their swing speed", said the new world number 17, who is now swinging at close to 120 miles per hour.
It's the course where his grandfather worked as a caddie and where he began his pro career.
Phil Mickelson poses with the trophy after winning the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Monday.
It would be fantastic for Phil to claim the career grand slam at Pebble with a second win there this season. "[It means] absolutely nothing", he said.
Asked in a greenside interview what the performance did for his confidence, Mickelson said: "Absolutely nothing, because it's nothing like the course we'll see". Another feature of Pebble Beach is the scenic 17-Mile Drive that offers drivers and passengers views of the golf course, seascape and spectacular mansions. "But I'll deal with that in [four] months".
With that track record - and the fact that early-season form should be an advantage given the Majors come thick and fast this year - he should be one to watch when the top players return there in June.