Forget Tiger Woods This is the year of Phil Mickelson’ comeback.
The 47-year-old, one of the most popular players in PGA history, defeated 2017 PGA Player of the Year Justin Thomas in a playoff to take the title at the WGC-Mexico City on Sunday.
It’s his first win since the 2013 Open Championship.
“Over the last four and a half years I’ve been extremely frustrated knowing that I’ve been able to play at this level and I haven’t been doing it,” Mickelson said. “Knowing that I’m able to hit shots and I haven’t been doing it, hitting some of the crazy shots that I’ve hit, that’s led to a source of frustration. But knowing where my game was at heading into this year and believing in the fact that the results would come and then being patient and letting it happen, all of that has been an important part.”
The window in the final round opened for both players because of the final-round fade by Indiana phenom Shubhankar Sharma. The 21-year-old led the tournament after 54 holes but couldn’t hold it together on Sunday, shooting a 74 to end up tied for ninth. He bogeyed four of the last six holes.
Thomas lost despite shooting 62-64 in the final two rounds of the tournament. He bogeyed No. 17 before getting to 16-under with an eagle on 18. After Mickelson had just missed a birdie putt to win on the extra hole, Thomas fired – and knew right away – that he had missed. Mickelson tapped in from a few inches away for the title.
Mickelson was 3-under through 14 holes then birdied 15 and 16. He could have won outright with a birdie on either of the last two holes but parred them both.
Rafa Cabrera Bello and Tyrrell Hatton both shot final-round 67s to finish tied for third at 15-under. Both made a charge down the stretch. Cabrera Bello birdied 13, 15 and 18. Hatton picked up four strokes in four holes between 12 and 15 including an eagle on 15 but bogeyed 18 when a par would have gotten him into the playoff and a birdie would have won the title outright.
It was a star-studded top 10. Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia tied for seventh at 12-under and the resurgent Bubba Watson tied for ninth.