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 (Calif.) 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.
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 ago 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 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.
Women’s World Cup
Teenage sensation Ai Miyazato shot a 6-under 67 in difficult conditions on the Links Course at Fancourt in George, South Africa, to lead Japan to a two-stroke victory in the Women’s World Cup.
A five-time winner as a 19-year-old rookie on the Japan LPGA Tour, Miyazato was 10 shots better than the average score in the final round of stroke play, in which nine of the 40 women failed to break 80.
Her teammate, Rui Kitada, had an 82 to give Japan a 3-over 149 total and a 3-under 289 overall score.
South Korea’s Jeong Jang and Bo Bae Song tied for second with the Philippines’ Jennifer Rosales, and Dorothy Delasin. Americans Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel finished 14th in the 20-team field, 12 shots behind.
Match Play Championship
Vijay Singh will be the No. 1 seed in the Match Play Championship, narrowly hanging on to the top spot in the world ranking despite missing the cut in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The world ranking released Sunday night determines the 64-man field at the World Golf Championship, which starts Feb. 23 at La Costa Resort just north of San Diego.
Tiger Woods, the two-time defending champion, will be the No. 2 seed.
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