Mickelson leads by 3 as Pebble heads for Monday finish
After the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was delayed by a hail storm, only darkness could keep Phil Mickelson from adding another chapter to the tournament record books.
Mickelson started the final round three shots behind Paul Casey, but he used a run of back-nine birdies to overtake the Englishman and build a three-shot lead. When darkness fell, Mickelson and Casey had just two holes left to play (Casey still faces a 3-footer for par on 16) and will return to the course at 11 a.m. ET to complete the final round.
Mickelson has won this event four times before, most recently in 2012, and a victory would tie him with Mark O’Meara for the most in tournament history. The 48-year-old trailed Casey by two through the first seven holes, but a combination of Mickelson birdies and Casey bogeys turned a two-shot deficit into a three-shot advantage in the span of about 90 minutes. Mickelson is 6 under on his final round and 18 under for the week, with Casey at 15 under and tied for second with Scott Stallings, who completed a 6-under 66 before sunset.
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Players endured a weather delay of more than two hours before the leaders teed off, as the Pebble Beach greens were coated with hail in addition to already wet conditions. This will mark the first Monday finish for this event since 2009.
Mickelson lobbied to try to finish the round in the waning light, but Casey told PGA Tour rules official Mark Russell on the 16th green that he believed that it was too dark to proceed.
“I get exactly where Paul’s coming from. It’s dark and we’re going to have a good chance tomorrow to come out on fresh greens and have them mown. They got pretty rough this afternoon, so I totally get it,” Mickelson said. “But I have pretty good vision, I can see fine and I’m playing well. So I wanted to continue, and that’s all there is to it.”
Casey was looking to boost his record when playing with the lead, but Sunday’s round was more of the same for a veteran who went nearly nine years in between PGA Tour victories before last year’s Valspar Championship. Casey made only one birdie on the front nine as Mickelson drew even, then fell behind with consecutive bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13. The issue for Casey was the putter, as he missed four straight putts from inside 15 feet to open the back nine.
Mickelson nearly captured the Desert Classic in his 2019 debut, tying for second behind Adam Long. While he appeared to take a step back with a missed cut at last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, he righted the ship in quick fashion. A victory Monday would be his 14th in the state of California, the 44th of his career and give him another trophy on the course that will host the U.S. Open in four short months as Mickelson looks to round out the final leg of the career Grand Slam.