Mickelson bags Pebble Beach Pro-Am title

Hailstones being cleared from a green at Pebble Beach on Sunday

Phil Mickelson leads the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am by three shots with two holes to play after the final round was suspended because of fading light.

The last two groups didn't tee off until after two weather delays, with rain postponing the start of play for an hour and a hailstorm bringing another two-hour hold-up.

Instead, he had to return early Monday morning to complete his 44th PGA Tour victory, claiming a fifth AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am while also becoming the eighth-oldest victor in PGA Tour history.

Mickelson sits at -18 for the tournament, with three holes to play. "I have pretty good vision, I'm playing well and I wanted to continue". "In all honesty, it's a good thing to play the last two holes in fresh conditions".

Expanding on why he felt his performance at Pebble Beach boded well for Augusta, the three-time Masters victor said: "The two areas that you have to be at your best to play well at Augusta are you've got to hit the ball long and have a really good short game and those were two areas that were very helpful here". "I don't want to put Paul in a bad spot".

On Monday morning, he had a change of heart and said he thanked Casey for standing his ground.

He finished at 19-under 268, while Englishman Paul Casey (71) birdied the final hole for second place on 16-under.

Making it even more special is Pebble Beach, where he made his pro debut at the US Open in 1992, where he won the first of his five titles in another Monday finish in 1998, this one in August because of rain.

Mickelson's first goal is that fourth green jacket and he believes that even now, at the age of 48, he has the power and the putting touch to give McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and the rest a run for their money in eight weeks' time.

Pebble Beach was so soft that balls were plugging in the fairway when they landed.

"(It means) absolutely nothing because it's nothing like the course we'll see", Mickelson said. It also moved him up 12 spots in the world rankings to No. 17 - one spot higher than he reached with last year's win at the WGC-Mexico Championship and his best world ranking since he was 16th in November 2016. I'm hitting drivers and trying to bomb it down there and hit wedges in, and the rough will be so different and the greens will be so firm it will be a whole different golf course. I'm very happy we won the team competition. "But I'll deal with that in [four] months". "I just get in my own little bubble and I don't see the big picture". He closed with a 65 for a 10-under-par 278 total.

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