Mexico City - Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson seized
his first title in nearly five years on Sunday as he edged Justin Thomas in a
playoff to win the WGC Mexico Championship.
Mickelson, who hadn't won since his victory at the Open
Championship at Muirfield in 2013, parred the first playoff hole, the par-three
17th at Club de Golf Chapultepec, where Thomas missed the green and was unable
to get up and down for par.
"It's been a tough go the last four years, not playing
my best," Mickelson said. "But to have the believe that I was going
to get there and finally break through and do it feels incredible.
"I feel that more is to come," added the
47-year-old. "I'm starting play some of my best golf."
The 24-year-old Thomas, one of the hottest young stars in
golf and the reigning US PGA Tour Player of the Year, was coming off a victory
at the Honda Classic last week.
He made six birdies and holed out from the fairway for an
eagle at the 18th for a closing seven-under 64 that put him atop the
leaderboard on 16-under 268.
With Thomas in the clubhouse with a two-stroke lead,
Mickelson birdied 15 and 16 to reach 16-under and parred the last two-holes to
cap a 66 and force the decider.
England's Tyrrell Hatton was 16-under through 17 holes, but
bogeyed the last to miss the playoff.
His 67 left him tied for third on 269 with Spain's Rafa
Cabrera Bello (67).
Mickelson, whose drought stretched over 101 worldwide
starts, had sounded a confident note when he finished the third round two shots
off the 54-hole lead of India's Shubhankar Sharma.
He opened with back-to-back birdies, and after a three-putt
bogey at the third birdied the fourth and sixth, adding another birdie at the
10th to hold sole possession of the lead on 15-under.
He gave a stroke back at the 11th, however, where his second
shot ended up in the undergrowth between ivy-covered trees.
When Thomas produced his finishing eagle it looked like,
once again, Mickelson would miss out on a trip to the winner's circle.
But a birdie at the par-five 15th and a birdie at 16 - where he rolled in a 19-foot putt - kept his chances alive.
"It just validates the hard work I've put in and the
struggle for the last few years to finally get my game back," Mickelson
He admitted he was nervous teeing off in the last group - but said he welcomed the butterflies.
"The thing about it is, I love the challenge,"
Mickelson said. "To have something like this today makes it all
Although he won last week, Thomas got off to a rocky start
at Chapultepec and was even through two rounds.
He roared up the leaderboard with a course-record 62 on
"If you would have told me I would have been in a
playoff after two rounds, I would have told you you were lying," said
Thomas, whose five wins last season included his first major title at the PGA
"But I played unbelievable golf these last two days.
I'm probably more proud of myself than I've ever been. It takes a lot of
patience and calmness to stay in it as much as I did."
Mickelson was also impressed with Thomas's weekend.
"If you look at what Justin Thomas did this weekend,
shooting 16-under on this golf course over two days -- just incredible,"
"I know and respect and admire how great these young
players are, and yet I welcome and cherish the opportunity to compete against
The unexpected youngster who dominated the headlines on
Friday and Saturday, Sharma, just couldn't maintain his momentum on Sunday.
The 21-year-old who had shot to 75th in the world with two
European Tour wins this season was trying to win in his first World Golf
But he closed with a three-over 74 that included five bogeys
and just two birdies and left him tied for ninth, six shots adrift.
Leading final-round scores on Sunday in the World Golf Championships Mexico Championship (x-won at first playoff hole, USA unless noted, par-71):
268 - x-Phil Mickelson 69-68-65-66, Justin Thomas 72-70-62-64
269 - Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) 66-67-69-67, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 70-68-64-67
271 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 66-69-71-65, Brian Harman 68-67-68-68
272 - Dustin Johnson 69-66-68-69, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 68-65-6970
274 - Bubba Watson 69-66-72-67, Adam Hadwin (CAN) 70-71-67-66, Shubhankar Sharma (IND) 65-66-69-74
275 - Paul Casey (ENG) 73-68-68-66, Patton Kizzire 69-69-71-66
276 - Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 72-71-67-66, Daniel Berger 69-68-72-67, Alex Noren (SWE) 69-70-71-66, Jordan Spieth 70-67-69-70
277 - Adam Bland 70-67-71-69, Xander Schauffele 65-68-70-74
278 - Jon Rahm (ESP) 67-71-70-70, Brendan Steele 69-66-71-72, Jhonattan Vegas 70-68-69-71, Charley Hoffman 70-66-70-72, Pat Perez 68-67-68-75
279 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 71-70-70-68, Kyle Stanley 71-65-71-72
280 - Jorge Campillo 72-71-69-68, Tony Finau 68-70-68-74
281 - Kevin Kisner 70-71-66-74