PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Phil Mickelson knew the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was lost Sunday, that he wasn’t going to win the title for a record sixth time as he made his way on to the 18th green at day’s end.
But there was a consolation prize if he could hole a final 8-foot birdie chance.
Alas, even that slipped from his fingers in the brutish winds at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mickelson missed the putt, which would have locked up a two-way tie for second, which would have moved him into the top 50 in the world rankings and gained him a spot in the WGC-Mexico Championship in two weeks.
With a 2-over-par 74, Mickelson finished solo third, five shots behind Nick Taylor.
“I got outplayed,” he said.
The good news is that the 49-year-old continued to rebound from those back-to-back missed cuts at year’s start. He tied for third at the Saudi International last week.
Mickelson is projected to move to No. 55 in the newest Official World Golf Ranking after starting the week at No. 72. He can still get into the WGC-Mexico Championship by cracking the top 50 in the world rankings next week.
“I had a lot of fun today having a chance to be in contention and having a chance to win,” Mickelson said. “It was fun to get back in it. And these last couple of weeks have really given me a lot of motivation and momentum to continue doing what I've been doing.”
Mickelson showed off a brilliant short game Saturday to move within one of the lead going into the final round. While he scrambled spectacularly to save a par at the 13th on Sunday, flopping a shot over and around a TV tower to save par, he didn’t have the same magical powers to escape all the trouble he found himself in playing through the gusting winds on Sunday.
“I had a tough time with the conditions,” he said. “I had a tough time with making pars, but my focus and everything was really sharp today. I just didn't execute. We had a few misjudgments of the wind.”