Scottsdale, AZ – Phil Mickelson fired a 4-under 67 on Sunday to complete a dominant, wire-to-wire victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Mickelson, who also won this event in 1996 and 2005, came within a horse-shoed putt of shooting 59 in the first round and never relented. The left-hander carded a 65 on Friday, matched the tournament's 54-hole scoring mark with a 64 on Saturday, and tallied five birdies during the final round to finish at 28- under 256, which tied for the second-lowest score in a 72-hole PGA Tour event.
It was the 41st career PGA Tour win for Mickelson and his first since capturing the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title last February.
"It's a hard thing to do, win on the PGA Tour, and I'm very appreciative and fortunate," Mickelson said in a televised interview. "It's been a year. I was nervous heading into today's round. It means a lot to get back in the winners circle."
Brandt Snedeker, who entered the final round six strokes off Mickelson's pace, shot 65 at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course to finish in second place at 24- under. He tied for second behind Tiger Woods last week at the Farmers Insurance Open.
"I feel like I'm running the Hall of Famers every week," quipped Snedeker. "It would be nice if they weren't in the field and I could go ahead and go after it. It's just tough, you know. ... It was fun to watch, fun to be part of. You want to win those, and hopefully I will soon."
Scott Piercy fired a 61 and placed third at 23-under, Ryan Moore (65) took fourth at 22-under and Ryan Palmer (62) finished in fifth at minus-19.
Snedeker figured to provide a threat given his penchant for furious finishes. He has come from behind in three of his four career wins -- erasing deficits of seven, six and five shots -- and another rally appeared possible Sunday when his birdie on the third, paired with Mickelson's bogey on No. 2, trimmed the margin to four strokes.
Spurred by four birdies, Snedeker managed to halve his deficit by the turn, although Mickelson did manage to provide some fireworks during his outward nine.
On No. 4 he rolled home a long birdie putt, an effort which paled against his feat on the seventh. There, the lefty faced a 57-foot, bending, right-to-left putt. In order to effectively play the break, Mickelson was forced to run the ball into the first cut. He did so, and when the ball returned to the green it surged left and found the cup for birdie.
Neither player picked up another shot until the par-5 13th, when Mickelson hit the fairway with his first, dropped his second in the front of the green and two-putted for birdie.
Snedeker, who narrowly missed a long birdie putt on No. 10, managed to save par on the 13th despite facing an unplayable lie when his drive landed under a bush. After a drop, he sent his third shot into a greenside bunker, but got up and down for a five and righted himself with a trio of successive birdies starting at No. 15.
Mickelson birdied the 15th as well, but he parred No. 16, which allowed Snedeker to move the margin back to three with a short birdie roll.
It was on to the par-4 17th, where Mickelson narrowly avoided the water off the tee, then placed his approach within 10 feet of the cup and tapped in for birdie.
Snedeker managed a par on the hole, allowing Mickelson to wrap up the impressive win with a par of his own on the last.
"When you haven't won you want it bad," continued Mickelson. "I had to get control of my thoughts after the first few holes where things were going where I didn't want (them) to go. I kind of had to regain control of my thoughts and start seeing what I wanted to do with the ball and then I started to hit some good shots."
NOTES: Mickelson joined Arnold Palmer, Mark Calcavecchia and Gene Littler as the only three-time winners of this event ... Tommy Armour owns the lowest 72- hole scoring mark in a PGA Tournament. He shot 254 at the 2003 Valero Texas Open. Rookie Russell Henley ended with a 256 at the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii ... Mickelson's 54-hole total of 24-under 189 equaled Calcavecchia's record from 2001 ... Defending champion Kyle Stanley finished in 74th place at even par.