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So Much for Layoffs - Mickelson Wins No 20

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It didnt take long for Phil Mickelson to revive his winning ways. Professionally incapacitated for five months, the left-hander defeated David Berganio, Jr., on the first hole of sudden death in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in La Quinta, Calif.
 
Mickelson birdied his final three holes of regulation at PGA West, and then added one more to his card on the first extra hole to collect career victory No. 20.
 
I think theres a misperception that Ive done nothing for five months. Actually, Ive taken five months off from competitive golf and been working on my game and getting in shape to adjust to the swing changes Ive made, said Mickelson, who earned $720,000.
 
Mickelson (64) and Berganio (66) finished the 90-hole event tied at 30-under-par 330. Mickelson was first in the clubhouse, following a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th and a fabulous birdie on the par-5 18th. His second shot at the home hole landed left of the green and narrowly avoided the water. He then hit his patented full-swinging flop shot to within a foot of the cup.
 
Berganio just missed a birdie on 17 that would have tied him for the lead at minus-30. His second shot on 18 flew right over the flagstick, finishing some 30 feet from the hole. His eagle effort came up eight feet short; however, he calmly sank the playoff-forcing putt.
 
The two combatants went back to the 543-yard 18th. Berganio boomed his tee shot down the middle of the fairway, while Mickelson found the right-hand bunker, from where he laid up with his third shot.
 
Berganio went for the green with his second shot. But this time he struck a 4-iron into the lake. After a penalty drop, he hit his fourth shot inside of seven feet.
 
'I was trying to hit a hard cut on the right portion of the green and I just chunked it,' Berganio said of his second shot.
 
With Berganio still alive for a par, Mickelson again hit a brilliant third shot on No. 18, this time spinning an approach from 80 yards in the fairway to within inches of the hole.
 
'I felt like I became more consistent (in his time off) from 130 (yards) in, and more efficient. That's why I'm excited to have won the tournament, because what I've specifically worked on paid off,' he said.
 
Mickelson was making his first start since the WGC-NEC Invitational in August.
 
The final round was full of contenders, many of whose days ended in water-soaked disappointment. Briny Baird (64) and Cameron Beckman (69) tied for third place at 28-under. Last weeks winner Jerry Kelly (67) finished alone in fifth place at minus-27.
 
Charles Howell III (65), Chris DiMarco (67) and Brandel Chamblee (70) were all within striking distance coming down the stretch, but couldnt avoid the water. Howell made double bogey at the short 17th when he tee shot got wet, just as Chamblees did at the 15th. DiMarco bogeyed both Nos. 17 and 18, thanks to hitting into the hazards.
 
All three men finished tied with four others at 26-under.
 
Overnight leader Jay Haas (74) finished tied for 16th. The 48-year-old couldnt keep dry on the back nine, doubling the 17th en route to a 3-over 39.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
 
*Mickelson became the 34th player in PGA Tour history to earn 20 career titles. He and Tiger Woods (29) are the only active players under the age of 30 on that list. The victory tally ensures Mickelson lifetime status on tour once he has completed 15 years of service.
 
*Mickelson is now 5-1 in playoffs. Berganio is 0-1.
 
Full-field scores from the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic

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