/Rain, Hail and Darkness Keep Phil Mickelson on Verge of Pebble Beach Win

Rain, Hail and Darkness Keep Phil Mickelson on Verge of Pebble Beach Win


PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Phil Mickelson put himself on the verge of a fifth victory on the Pebble Beach Pro-Am by turning a three-shot deficit right into a three-shot lead when a wild day of climate saved him from ending on Sunday.

Mickelson was bogey-free with six birdies, and he made his huge run beginning with a 9-iron to a foot behind the cup on the par-Four ninth. That was begin of a five-hole stretch when Mickelson made three birdies and Paul Casey had two bogeys.

About the one factor that didn’t go Mickelson’s means was the timing. The ultimate spherical began an hour late as a result of of rain, and then it was delayed two extra hours when sunshine gave technique to a hailstorm in a matter of minutes, masking the greens in a sheet of white.

Mickelson was at 18 underneath par by way of 16 holes. Casey had a Three-foot par putt on the identical gap when Mickelson tried to foyer for them to complete, even at midnight.

“I can see fine,” Mickelson instructed a guidelines official. “I don’t want to put Paul in a bad spot.”

Casey merely couldn’t see, and he realized it was not doable to complete all 18 holes — “We can’t finish two holes in six minutes,” he stated to the official — he opted to mark his ball on the 16th inexperienced.

Mickelson already made his par on the 16th and was 6 underneath for the day, with no bogeys on his card, and 18-under par for the match. Casey has a Three-foot par putt to remain three pictures behind after they return Monday morning to play the par-Three 17th and the par-5 18th.

“I hit some good golf shots and didn’t get anything out of it today,” Casey stated. “Phil has put together a spectacular round of golf so far: 6 under, no dropped shots. Remarkable stuff.”

Casey was tied with Scott Stallings, who closed with a 66. Jason Day closed with a 68 and was tied for fourth at 13 underneath with Si Woo Kim (68).

Mickelson was standing on the 17th tee when he heard the horn sound to cease play, and he shook his head.

The relaxation of his day was much better than the climate.

Mickelson is closing in on his 44th PGA Tour victory, and on the verge of matching Mark O’Meara with 5 victories at a match he first performed in 1995. His first one additionally was a Monday end, when gamers returned in August — greater than six months later — to complete the third spherical of the weather-plagued match to make it official.

“We’ve got two tough holes left and I don’t want to jump the gun and get past that,” Mickelson stated. “I know a lot can happen in these two holes and they have happened in the past, so I want to stay focused and just come out tomorrow and try to finish it off. I wish we could do it tonight.”

It can be his first victory on American soil for the reason that Phoenix Open six years in the past. He received the British Open that summer season in Scotland, and the Mexico Championship final 12 months.

His good play nonetheless shared the stage with climate that was weird even by Pebble Beach requirements.

Mickelson and Casey have been ready to tee off when clouds moved in rapidly moved in, and rain became hail that pounded umbrellas, many of them held sideways to account for the wind.

Greens rapidly have been coated by the tiny white pellets, and employees went from utilizing squeegees for extra water to energy blowers to take away the hail.

Sam Saunders, whose grandfather Arnold Palmer was among the many Pebble Beach homeowners, scooped up hail and tossed it like a snowball. Patrick Reed’s brother tried to make a snow angel.

There was by no means an inexpensive probability to complete in his pro-am format, with principally foursomes throughout the golf course.

Casey has by no means received in three earlier instances he had a 54-hole lead on the tour, all of them by two pictures or extra, and he was holding his personal towards the relentless pursuit of Mickelson, who missed three straight birdie putts from the 12-foot vary by the slimmest margins. Casey had nice par saves, and then Mickelson took off.

After his 9-iron right into a foot at No. 9 to drag to at least one shot behind, Mickelson holed a 12-foot birdie on the 10th with a drive that hugged the suitable aspect of the golf green and in all probability would have bounced into the ocean if not for circumstances so mushy from rain that balls plugged the place they landed.

Casey blinked first with a bogey on the 11th gap, and one other on the par-Three 12th when his tee shot got here up brief and into the bunker. Mickelson poured it on, exhibiting his expertise haven’t deteriorated a bit at 48, controlling spin fantastically to again pin positions.

He simply didn’t wish to keep one other day.

“I get where Paul is coming from,” Mickelson stated. “We’re going to have a good chance to come out on fresh greens. I have good vision, I can see fine and I wanted to continue. In all honesty, it’s a good thing to play the last two holes in fresh conditions.”



Source link Nytimes.com

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