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GOLF ROUNDUP Desert course no sweat for Mickelson



Published: Mon, February 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A final-hole birdie capped a five-stroke victory at the FBR Open.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson finished a triumphant week in his second home, winning the FBR Open by five strokes for his largest margin of victory in a PGA Tour event.

Mickelson struggled with his driver some in a final round 3-under 68, but no one mounted a serious challenge Sunday. He never led by fewer than three strokes over the final 18 holes.

Mickelson survived shots deep into the desert and into the water, then capped his round with a 26-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the 18th to the wild cheers of the friendly throng.

"We had a lot of fun," he said. "We miss the people here so much."

Afterward, his daughters, 5-year-old Amanda and 3-year-old Sophia, rushed to hug their dad on the 18th green. "Daddy, there's treats after," the youngest one said.

With chants of "A-S-U" and "Go Lefty!" from the crowd everywhere he went, Mickelson finished at 17-under 267 on the 7,216-yard Tournament Players Club course. Scott McCarron and Kevin Na, at 21 the youngest player on the PGA tour, tied for second at 272. McCarron shot his second consecutive 65 on Saturday. Na played in the final group with Mickelson and faltered before rallying with birdies on the 14th and 17th for his best finish in his two years on the tour.

Steve Flesch, Tim Herron and David Toms finished at 273. Toms would have finished in second place but double-bogeyed the 18th.

A three-time NCAA champion at Arizona State who lived in Scottsdale until December 2001, Mickelson won the FBR -- formerly the Phoenix Open -- for the second time. He was just 25 when he won in a playoff with another tour youngster, Justin Leonard, in 1996.

Mickelson became the first golfer in five PGA tournaments this year to protect a 54-hole lead, the longest such streak since 1976, when third-round leaders did not win the first five PGA Tour events of the year.

After a 2-over 73 in the first round, Mickelson was minus-19 in the last 54, including an 11-under 60 in the second round on Friday, tying the course record with his lowest score in an official PGA event.

Heineken Classic

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Australia's Craig Parry ended Ernie Els' three-year reign in the Heineken Classic, holing a 12-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole of a playoff with countryman Nick O'Hern.

Parry closed with a 1-under 70 to match O'Hern (71) at 14-under 270.

Cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle, a 23-year-old Australian, bogeyed the 18th to tie for third with England's Simon Dyson at 13 under. Lyle, who spent a year in hospital undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia in 1999, shot a 71, and Dyson had a 68.

Els shot a 70 to finish at 12 under.




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