Waste Management Phoenix Open 2013: Day 4 Leaderboard, Analysis and Highlights
Beginning the day with a six-shot lead, Mickelson held on by posting a final-round 67 to finish at 28 under par for the tournament, which bested Snedeker by four strokes.
This latest triumph marked Lefty's 41st career PGA Tour victory, which broke a tie with Cary Middlecoff and pulled him to within three of the next man in the record books, Walter Hagen.
But there wasn't a shortage of drama, even though it seemed like Day 4 would simply be a victory lap for Mickelson. The two-man show heated up when Snedeker put up a scintillating, four-under 31 on the front side.
Golf Channel's Jason Sobel provided an appropriate football analogy on the day of the Super Bowl.
Phil Mickelson 34, Brandt Snedeker 31 at halftime. The lead is down to a field goal.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) February 3, 2013
Unfortunately for Snedeker, he could not quite get it done despite birdies at holes 15, 16 and 17, but he did put up a stellar round of 65. The 2012 FedEx Cup champion has clearly held onto his strong form from a season ago, logging his second consecutive runner-up finish to a phenomenal golfer.
As an Arizona State graduate, Mickelson is always a quintessential hometown favorite at this venue. Sunday was more of a struggle on the course than he was accustomed to in the first three rounds, but the 42-year-old veteran did enough to emerge victorious.
Two birdies at the fourth and seventh holes helped absorb a disappointing dropped shot at No. 2, and Mickelson finished the week a whopping nine under on par threes. That was highlighted by an incredible 56-foot bomb for birdie at No. 7, which rammed into the back of the cup after Mickelson brilliantly navigated his ball through the fringe.
The action between the two leaders picked up a bit on the back side, but Mickelson managed to keep out in front just enough, matching Snedeker's birdie on the 17th to put to rest any doubts.
Not to be overlooked was the phenomenal display put on by Scott Piercy, who lit it up himself with three consecutive birdies on 13, 14 and 15 to etch out a sensational round of 10-under 61.
Another player who nearly matched him was James Hahn, who salvaged a decent T-16 finish with a 62. But he will be forever renowned for doing the "Gangnam Style" dance after a birdie on the famously raucous par-three No. 16.
Paul Azinger observed how nicely this tournament captures the excitement and personality of those in the heat of competition:
There is not another event in golf that does a better job of showcasing PGA Tour players/caddies personalities than the #PhoenixOpen— Paul Azinger (@PaulAzinger) February 3, 2013
This event was a perfect microcosm for the "Phil the Thrill" phenomenon. Mickelson almost jarred a putt for a first-round 59 on Thursday, and he continued to dazzle the pro-Phil fans for all four days.
The victory also bodes well for the game of golf moving forward. With Tiger Woods dominating last week and Mickelson being just as impressive, the stage is set for epic hype leading up the majors.
And that's without mention of World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who has yet to play on the tour in 2013.
Here are some highlights from Sunday's electric action, courtesy of PGATOUR.com:
The monster putt that kept the momentum going for Mickelson at the par-three seventh hole:
Snedeker cuts the lead to three after yet another birdie at No. 9, right in the middle:
At the par-five 14th, Piercy scraped it around before nailing this 17-footer to keep climbing rapidly up the leaderboard:
Below is the final leaderboard, and for complete scores, check out PGA.com.
|1||Phil Mickelson ||60-65-64-67||-28|
|3||Scott Piercy ||70-66-64-61||-23|
|4||Ryan Moore ||66-66-65-65||-22|
|5||Ryan Palmer ||64-73-66-62||-19|
|T6||Bill Haas ||65-64-70-67||-18|
|T6||Brendon de Jonge ||66-67-67-66||-18|
|T6||Brendan Steele ||69-65-65-67||-18|
|T9||Padraig Harrington ||64-70-63-70||-17|
|T9||Matt Every ||65-67-69-66||-17|
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