Phil Mickelson, who led after each round, won the Phoenix Open by four strokes over Brandt Snedeker.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Phil Mickelson’s 5-iron shot sailed long and right on the par-3 seventh hole, stopping about an inch from the fringe and leaving him in danger of losing at least a stroke to playing partner Brandt Snedeker.
Mickelson ended up leaving Snedeker shaking his head and went on to complete a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Phoenix Open, sponsored by Waste Management.
Fifty-five feet away, with a mound and a 20-foot swath of fringe between his ball and the hole, Mickelson decided to putt through the taller grass rather than chip over it. He had caddie Jim Mackay remove the flagstick so it wouldn’t deflect the ball if it had too much speed, a move that proved wise when the ball raced into the cup.
“The challenge of that was to judge the speed where half the putt is through fringe and half is on the green,” Mickelson said. “I got lucky to have made it, obviously. I was just trying to two-putt it.”
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Snedeker joked with Mickelson for a moment before holing his birdie putt.
“Are you kidding me?” Snedeker said of his reaction to the putt. “I fully expected Phil to hit a flop shot from there. He didn’t have much of a putt, and he putted through it.
“I hit a great shot in there close and I thought, ‘Hey, I can get one on him here and put some pressure on him.’ He makes that, and he let me hear about it before I putt, and he let me know that I needed to make that to tie. We had fun with it. That’s Phil being Phil.”
Mickelson shot a 4-under-par 67 to finish at 28-under 256, two strokes off the PGA Tour record of 254 set by Tommy Armour III in the 2003 Texas Open.
The 42-year-old Mickelson, a former Arizona State standout, won after struggling at the last two events — tying for 37th at La Quinta in his opener and tying for 51st at Torrey Pines — and making news by talking about tax increases in public.
“I was certainly nervous heading into today,” he said.
Mickelson earned $1.116 million for his 41st career Tour victory — winning for the first time since 51 weeks ago at Pebble Beach, where he will seek a record-tying fifth victory starting Thursday.
Snedeker (65) was second, four strokes behind Mickelson. Scott Piercy (61) finished third at 23 under and Ryan Moore (65) of Puyallup was fourth at 22 under. Moore earned $297,600.
Ex-Washington Huskies player Richard H. Lee (71) tied for 63rd place at 5 under and defending champion Kyle Stanley (72) of Gig Harbor was 74th at even par.
• Stephen Gallacher of Scotland closed with a 1-under 71 and won the Dubai Desert Classic by three shots over Richard Sterne (71) of South Africa. Gallacher, 38, had a 22-under 266 total and posted his first European Tour victory since 2004.
• Karrie Webb won her eighth Australian Ladies Masters title. Hall of Famer Webb, 38, had birdies on three of her last five holes for a 5-under 67 and a two-stroke victory. She was at 13-under 203 for 54 holes.
Webb’s feat has been compared with the PGA Tour mark held by Sam Snead, who won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times.