Phil Mickelson wins his 40th PGA Tour tittle at the Pebble Beach National
Mickelson finished 17-under par beat long-time rival Tiger Woods in a final-round duel
Woods slipped from four shots off the lead to finish tied for 15th position
Four-time major winner Mickelson has outshot Woods in a final-round pairing
Phil Mickelson’s rivalry with Tiger Woods has provided some of golf’s best stories of the past decade, and that battle for supremacy was renewed at Pebble Beach on Sunday as both sought to re-establish themselves as the PGA Tour’s marquee names.
Woods has it all over Mickelson with 14 major titles and 71 overall on the U.S. circuit, but had to play second fiddle as “Lefty” joined an elite group of players with 40 tour victories as he overcame a six-shot deficit to win the AT&T National Pro-Am.
Four-time major winner Mickelson overhauled overnight leader Charlie Wi with a stunning eight-under-par 64 to win by two shots and claim his first win since April last year.
It was the fifth time in a row Mickelson had outshot Woods when they have been grouped together in the final round, and the 12th time he had bettered him when they have played together.
“I love playing with him, and he brings out some of my best golf,” four-time major winner Mickelson told the PGA Tour’s official website.
“I just seem more focused. I know that his level of play is so much greater when he’s playing his best than anybody else’s, that it just forces me to focus on my game more intently and hit more precise shots.”
Former world No. 1 Woods has not won a sanctioned tournament since November 2009, and is without a victory in his last 23 PGA Tour events – the longest winless streak of his professional career.
The American began the final round four shots off the lead, but carded five bogeys in a nightmare 75.
“It was frustrating,” said the 36-year-old after finishing tied for 15th place, having started the day in third.
“I was looking for two or three under though the first six or seven holes, and Phil is the one who got off to that start.”
The highlight of Mickelson’s round was a 21-foot eagle putt at the par-five fifth hole.
“The eagle to me was as important as any (shot),” said Mickelson, who has risen to 11th in the world rankings and became the ninth player to register 40 wins on the PGA Tour.
“I’m just trying to make a four. I’m not playing aggressively for a three off the tee. It’s an awkward shot for me. If I get it turning over at all it just runs into the ocean.”
South Korea’s Wi finished second on 15 under after carding a 72, with Ricky Barnes third on 13 under following a round of 67.
Australia’s Aaron Baddeley was one shot further back after a 67, ahead of American duo Kevin Na (70) and world No. 10 Dustin Johnson (70) on 11 under.
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington (70) and Ken Duke (74) of the U.S. were tied for seventh on 10 under.
Six players tied for ninth on nine under, one stroke ahead of Woods.
Alongside Woods on eight under were his Ryder Cup teammate Hunter Mahan (73), Richard H. Lee (69), Bob Estes (72) and Australia’s Steven Bowditch (68).
Former world No. 1 Vijay Singh (73) finished in a four-way tie for 25th, while 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk (71) was tied for 40th.