Sun Sentinel
PGA Tour
Mickelson finally gets WGC win



Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Phil Mickelson overcame dehydration and exhaustion on Sunday to earn his first World Golf Championships title at the CA Championship at Doral.

Mickelson edged out his fellow overnight co-leader Nick Watney thanks to a three-under 69. It was enough for Mickelson to get the victory at 19-under 269 and defeat Watney by a single stroke.

The win was well-earned by Mickelson, who was treated with IVs in a medical facility Saturday night.

At the famed Blue Monster closing hole, Mickelson was one ahead and both players were on the back fringe with birdie attempts.

Watney nearly holed his long birdie putt and in fact the ball came up one revolution short.

"I thought it was going to break to the right," said Watney. "I just tried to hit the putt with the proper speed. I tried to putt it how I normally would. Unfortunately, it came up a little short."

Mickelson had a shorter birdie putt than Watney and his putt nearly fell as well. He tapped in his short par putt to hoist the trophy for the first time at Doral.

This was Mickelson's 36th PGA Tour victory and his second this season. He visited the winner's circle at the Northern Trust Open, but this was win No. 1 in one of golf's elite-field events known as a WGC event.

With the victory, Mickelson moved to second in the world rankings and is very close to catching Tiger Woods.

"That's great, but he hasn't played in a year," said Mickelson, who pocketed $1.4 million for the win. "I don't really want to go there as far as the world rankings."

Woods posted his second consecutive, four-under 68 on the weekend, but never threatened the top of the leaderboard. He finished at 11-under 277, which was good for a tie for ninth.

"The good news is, I got better each and every day, my ball-striking, my feel got better each and every day," said Woods, who made his first start in a stroke-play event since knee surgery after last year's epic U.S. Open win.

"I'm very happy with the way I played; I didn't say the way I finished. But the way I played, I hit the ball, as I said, a lot better than my scoring indicates."

Woods netted four birdies on Sunday, but the problem, as it was all week, was a balky putter. Woods only needed 26 putts in the final round, a respectable number, but his average of 1.816 putts per green in regulation ranked 74th in this elite field.

"What are you going to do? Just hit the putts better or hit the ball closer, one of the two," said Woods. "My feel around the greens got better and just handling the environment out there got better."

When it came to feel around the greens this week, Mickelson was king. He chipped in four times through the first two rounds, but on Sunday it was a chip-in from Watney that changed the complexion of the final round.

Down two to Mickelson after a bogey at seven and a Mickelson birdie at eight, Watney hit an ugly bullet shot that flew through the green at the ninth. He could've taken relief, but liked his lie and pitched from that spot.

Watney hit a spectacular chip just into the fringe. His ball kicked forward and rolled right into the hole for an unlikely birdie. Mickelson missed a 25- footer for birdie, so the lead was down to a single shot.

At the par-five 10th, Mickelson hit his second almost 50 feet short of the stick. Watney stepped up and stiffed his approach to eight feet. Mickelson lagged to two feet, but Watney converted his eagle putt. He reached 20-under par, but Mickelson tapped in to knot the two atop the leaderboard.

Watney fell apart a bit after the eagle. He landed in a bunker at 11 and couldn't save par, falling one behind, then made a mess of the par-five 12th, staying in a bunker with his third.

Luckily for Watney, the only player butchering one of the easiest holes at Doral as badly as he had was Mickelson. He bogeyed the hole as well to stay one ahead.

That's how it stayed down the stretch.

Watney appeared to be in trouble at the 17th when he pulled his approach 50 feet left of the target. Mickelson was only 12 feet away and looked good when Watney slammed his birdie putt six feet past. Mickelson missed his birdie, then Watney sank the gutsy par save.

Mickelson took his drive just over the water at 18, but was safe. Watney hit a spectacular drive right down the middle, but in the end, Watney couldn't get the win.

"If you forget the end result, I was very pleased," said Watney, a two-time tour winner, including this year's Buick Invitational. "I think I'm doing the right things."

For Mickelson, this was not just an impressive victory, but it's also a nice tuneup for Augusta National and The Masters in four weeks.

"I cannot wait for that tournament to come," said Mickelson, a two-time owner of the green jacket. "I'm going to rest up the next three, four days obviously, but after that I'll be working on my game getting ready for The Masters."

Jim Furyk threw a little scare into the leaders. He shot a five-under 67 and took third at 16-under 272. Jeev Milkha Singh managed a two-under 70 and came in fourth at minus-14.

Oliver Wilson (66) and Camilo Villegas (71) shared fifth at 13-under 275, while Thomas Aiken (65) and Soren Kjeldsen (71) tied for seventh one stroke further back.

Woods was joined in ninth by Rod Pampling (71), Kenny Perry (72) and Justin Leonard (71).

03/15 19:36:25 ET