February 3 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson didn't get the PGA TOUR's all-time scoring record but he did get the victory he wanted at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday.
Mickelson started the final round leading by six and ended up beating Brandt Snedeker by four to become the first wire-to-wire winner in Phoenix since Steve Jones' 1997 victory -- and just the second here in 43 years. The last player to lead after each of the first three rounds and go on to victory was Rory McIlroy in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional.
Mickelson, who closed with a 67 on Sunday, also earned a share of the tournament's 72-hole scoring record but fell two strokes shy of the PGA TOUR mark. Mark Calcavecchia also shot 28 under in his 2001 victory.
The win was the 41st of Mickelson's World Golf Hall of Fame career and his third at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, tying him with Calcavecchia, Gene Littler and Arnold Palmer for the most all-time. He has now won 19 times in California and Arizona -- and will defend the 18th next week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Snedeker didn't make it easy on Mickelson, though. He closed to within three strokes for the second time on Sunday when he made a 5-footer for birdie at the 16th hole. He and Mickelson proceeded to match birdies at the driveable 17th but Snedeker bogeyed the 18th.
"It was a ton of fun," Snedeker said. "To be in the last group with Phil and kind of trade birdie for birdie and make up some ground was a lot of fun. It's what we play for. ... I wish I could have put some more pressure on him and got a little closer than I did today, but I think I shot 12 under par on the weekend and made one bogey.
"Sometimes you have to tip your hat and say Phil played unbelievable and deserved to win, and that's kind of what this week was all about."
Snedeker, who closed with a 65, has now finished second the last two weeks -- losing to Tiger Woods at the Farmers Insurance Open and Mickelson in Phoenix. He finished solo third at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, as well.
How well did Mickelson play at TPC Scottsdale this week? He led the field in greens in regulation and was 10th in putting. He made 29 birdies and one eagle while dropping just three shots to par with one bogey and one double bogey over 72 holes.
The low round of the day belonged to Scott Piercy, who sho 61 and finished alone in third at 23 under. Ryan Moore was another stroke behind after his second straight 65.