Phil MIckelson follows his approach shot from the fairway to the 10th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in Pebble Beach, Calif., Sunday Feb. 13, 2005. Mickelson shot a 1-over-par 73 to finish at total 19-under-par.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. Phil Mickelson should be used to this now, but he felt a strange sensation as he walked up the 18th fairway Sunday afternoon at Pebble Beach with a four-shot lead.
His heart wasn't racing from the thrill of competition.
He didn't need a dramatic shot, good or bad, that people would talk about for years. Heck, he could have pumped two balls into the Pacific Ocean and still won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
''Bones and I actually had a little tiff,'' Mickelson said, referring to his caddie. ''I wanted to hit driver.''
Then he smiled, ending the only suspense of the day.
''No, I'm just kidding,'' he added.
The joke again was on the guys trying to catch him.
Mickelson became the first wire-to-wire winner over 72 holes in the 68-year history of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, never letting anyone get closer than four shots and closing with a 1-over 73 for his second straight dominant victory on the PGA Tour.
He won by five shots last week in Phoenix, the largest margin of his career. He led by seven shots at the start of a cool, damp final round at Pebble Beach and never had to sweat.
''It was weird,'' he said. ''I didn't feel the normal intensity, the normal stress. It was a very enjoyable round.''
The only thing he didn't do was set the tournament scoring record. Mickelson finished at 19-under 269, missing by one shot the 72-hole record set seven years by Mark O'Meara.
''I don't really think about records like that,'' Mickelson said. ''I just wanted to win the tournament.''
Mike Weir tried to keep it interesting, but that only lasted about five minutes. The Canadian had the best round of the day, a 5-under 67, and got within four shots after a birdie on No. 11.
Mickelson was coming off back-to-back bogeys on the ninth and 10th holes, the toughest at Pebble because of wind that blew light rain into his face. But he hit wedge into 18 feet on the 11th to restore his lead to five shots, and won going away despite missing six birdie putts inside 18 feet the rest of the way.
Weir also burned the edge of the cup on the next six holes, and his chip for eagle on the 18th just turned away.
''I played one of the better rounds I've ever played,'' Weir said. ''It could have been a really special round if a few things could have dropped for me.''
Mickelson won in consecutive weeks for the first time in his career. Even more alarming is the margin of victory, especially for a guy known for keeping it entertaining to the very end.
He has won the last two weeks by a combined nine shots. Going into this year, Mickelson had won his last eight PGA Tour titles by a combined nine shots.
''It's been fun,'' Mickelson said. ''I've been playing well the last couple of weeks. I'm excited to get the year started with a couple of wins.''
Mickelson won for the 25th time on the PGA Tour. His $954,000 check pushed him over $2 million for the year and put him atop the money list. He will take the Nissan Open off next week, then head to La Costa for the Match Play Championship.
''Obviously, he's doing something right,'' Weir said.
Greg Owen of England, a PGA Tour rookie playing in the final group with Mickelson, birdied the last hole for a 72 and finished third to earn $360,000. Paul Goydos and Tim Clark each shot 71 to finish another shot back. For Goydos, it was his highest finish in six years.
Only 14 players managed to break par at Pebble Beach, where sunny conditions gave way to a light rain that blew sideways and put some of the teeth back into the venerable cliffside course. Weir was the only player in the 60s.
Mickelson had a seven-shot lead at the start of his round, and his plan was to play it smart without being defensive. But it was clear from the start he wanted to stick to his routine by attacking flags when he could.
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