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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > PGA Tour > Bellsouth Classic > Round 4
 

BELLSOUTH CLASSIC RELATED STORIES





Phil Mickelson coasts to thirteen shot win

Phil Mickelson completed his U.S. Masters preparations in emphatic style on Sunday, coasting to a record third BellSouth Classic title by 13 shots at the TPC at Sugarloaf.

The defending BellSouth champion, eight strokes clear overnight, eagled two of the last six holes for a seven-under-par 65 and a four-round total of 28-under 260.

His winning margin was the largest on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods clinched the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 strokes, and has been bettered only six times in Tour history.

"It was certainly a fun week and I was very pleased with the way I played," a beaming Mickelson told reporters after competing the second wire-to-wire victory of his career.

"I had some good practice days but it really means a lot to actually have the scores reflect the way I felt I was playing, in fact, maybe even a little bit lower. That was nice.

"I feel as though I'm starting to get really sharp as far as distance control and some of the areas I've been working on.

"I think those areas are going to be critical next week for a good performance at Augusta, especially given the changes and how difficult it's playing."

BellSouth champion in 2000 and again last year, the American left-hander birdied three of the first six holes to stretch his lead to 10.

Play was delayed for 45 minutes because of the threat of lightning after he reached the 15th tee, but Mickelson went on to record the 28th PGA Tour won of his career by holing a 24-foot eagle putt at the last.

Mickelson also became the tournament's first repeat winner since compatriot Hale Irwin in 1977. Irwin is among seven players who have triumphed twice at the BellSouth.

American Zach Johnson birdied the last four holes to close with a two-under-par 70 and a tie for second place with Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal (69) on 15-under 273.

Asked if he had any concern about peaking too early for next week's Masters, Mickelson replied: "I don't think so.

"It was a great week, don't get me wrong, but I didn't feel like it couldn't be repeated.

"I feel like I'm starting to play well and just as last year I played well at Phoenix and carried over the next week into AT&T (at Pebble Beach), I expect to do the same, or I hope to do the same, at least."

Mickelson, who produced sparkling form all week from tee to green, broke the BellSouth record for 72 holes.

The previous mark was jointly held at 23-under 265 by American Andy Bean (1979) and Canada's Dave Barr (1987), both players doing so when the event was staged at Atlanta Country Club.

Looking for his first victory of the year, Mickelson struck an iron off the tee at the par-three second to within six feet of the flag.

The double major winner coolly rolled in the putt before picking up his second shot at the par-five fourth, reaching the green in two and two-putting.

A massive drive at the par-five sixth paved the way for his third birdie before he stumbled at the par-three eighth, finding the right greenside bunker off the tee and missing a five-footer to save par.

However, Mickelson's 10-shot lead was restored when playing partner and second-placed Jonathan Byrd bogeyed the par-four ninth to slip to 13 under.

The BellSouth crown was all but assured as he reached the turn in two-under-par 34.

He birdied the 10th and then eagled the 310-yard 13th after driving to within three feet of the hole, before picking up another birdie at the 14th.

Mickelson bogeyed the 15th after his rhythm was upset by the weather delay but he produced a grandstand finish, reaching the green in two at the par-five 18th and holing out for eagle.

 

 




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