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Mickelson wins 4th Pebble Beach title

PEBBLE BEACH, California, USA February 13 – hil Mickelson won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the fourth time, denying playing partner Tiger Woods in his bid for a first official PGA Tour victory in over two years.

The 41-year-old American fired a final round eight-under par 64 for a 17-under total of 269, winning by two strokes and ending the hopes of Woods, who closed with a three-over 75.

“It feels amazing,” said Mickelson, who rallied from a six-shot deficit in the final round.

“Hopefully this is one of a few I will win this year because I am starting to feel pretty good.”

Third round leader Charlie Wi of South Korea was second after shooting a even-par 72 to finish on 271.

Mickelson outfought Woods by getting off to a quick start with a superb opening stretch of one eagle and three birdies in his first six holes and then saving par twice by sinking two long putts on the back nine.

Mickelson, who got off to a rocky start this season, picked up $1.15 million in first-place prize money in posting his 40th career PGA triumph and first victory since the Houston Open 10 months ago.

“This gives me a lot of confidence and erases the doubt,” Mickelson said.

It was the 30th time the two US golfing giants have gone head-to-head, with Mickelson 5-0 against Woods in their last five meetings in a final round. Overall they are an even 13-13-4 in head-to-head contests.

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“Before I won five I got spanked pretty good,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson entered the day six shots off the lead, but because of his blazing start he was able to make that up quickly in the first six holes. He began his round with a birdie on the par-5 second and then parred the third hole.

He then made birdies on No. 4 and No. 5 and an eagle on the par-5 sixth to get him to 14-under on the tournament. Wi, playing in the final group behind Mickelson and Woods, then bogeyed No. 6, giving Mickelson a three-shot lead.

“It put me on top of the leaderboard,” Mickelson said of the eagle. “That was a real confidence booster.”

Mickelson had three birdies on the back nine, including his shot of the day on the par-four 13th hole where he hit his second shot to four feet from the hole and drained the putt.

“I was able to scoot a shot in there,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson saved par twice on the back nine with a pair of 30-foot plus putts. The first one on No. 12 came after Woods had just holed out from the green side bunker for a birdie and the second came on No. 15 when Mickelson bombed another into the cup.

“My putter feels really good. I still miss them but now I feel I am making a bunch,” Mickelson said.

Woods worked hard all week to get himself into contention then had another Sunday where he couldn’t close the door.

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“It is frustrating,” Woods said. “I had a chance. All I needed was to get off to a good start today and I didn’t do that.”

Woods, on the other hand, was struggling to keep his ball in the middle of the fairway as the 14-time major champion had three consecutive bogeys to close his front nine for a two-over 38.

“I putted awful,” Woods said. “I didn’t see my lines and I couldn’t get comfortable.

“I thought I had to shoot 67 or 66 today and even that wouldn’t have been good enough. I made a lot of mistakes on the greens.”

Third round leader Wi stumbled out of the gate with a double bogey on the first hole and then back-to-back bogeys on No. 5 and No. 6.

Wi, who has in the past folded under late pressure, had a formidable pack chasing him on Sunday with Mickelson, Woods, Dustin Johnson and Padraig Harrington all in the mix at the end of the third round. He started the day with a three-shot lead over playing partner Ken Duke.

Wi had a steady round on the back nine Sunday with a birdie on the par-three 12th hole and then closed with three consecutive birdies.

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