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Lefty pitches playoff gem in Boston

By DOUG FERGUSON
Associated Press

NORTON, Mass. – Phil Mickelson is back on his game, and it was good enough to take down Tiger Woods.

Going head-to-head with Woods for the first time in 18 months, Mickelson buried the world’s No. 1 player on the front nine and held him off down the stretch Monday to close with a 5-under 66 and win the Deutsche Bank Championship by two shots.

It was the first victory for Mickelson since The Players Championship in May, when he looked ready to make another run at Woods. Then came a wrist injury that cost him his summer, and only recently has Mickelson been able to swing without flinching.

The pain on this Labor Day belonged to Woods.

He couldn’t make a putt on the front nine, and couldn’t make enough when he was trying to make up ground. Woods had four putts for eagle on the TPC Boston, and picked up only three shots. He wound up with a 67 – despite taking 32 putts – and tied for second with Arron Oberholser (69) and Brett Wetterich (70), who were afterthoughts while playing in the final group.

The buzz outside Beantown was clearly on the two biggest names in golf, and Mickelson relished this victory.

“For 10 years I’ve struggled against Tiger,” Mickelson said. “This sure feels great to go head-to-head … and over the last five or six holes when he’s making a run, it was fun to match him with birdies.”

Mickelson finished at 16-under 268 and earned $1.26 million, moving him atop the standings in the PGA Tour playoffs.

But after dispatching of Woods, Mickelson picked his next battle with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. He said he might not play next week outside Chicago at the BMW Championship, saying he owed it to the Tour but that Finchem had not fulfilled some requests that Mickelson has made. He did not elaborate.

If Mickelson were to play at Cog Hill, he again would be paired with Woods the first two days. That might be incentive enough the way he handled Woods at the TPC Boston, staying ahead of him the first two rounds and playing his best when it mattered.

Mickelson, who moved back to No. 2 in the world with his 32nd career victory, took only 23 putts in the final round and built a five-shot lead at the turn. Woods had ample opportunity to close the gap, especially when Mickelson took double bogey on the 12th hole, but he never got closer than two shots.

Mickelson matched his birdie on the 16th to stay two ahead, Woods missed from 10 feet on the 17th, and Lefty effectively locked up the victory with his chip from behind the 18th green to 4 feet for his final birdie.

“Unfortunately, I just didn’t make enough putts to really push him,” Woods said.

Wetterich started the final round with a one-shot lead and didn’t make a birdie until the 16th hole. His birdie on the last hole gave him enough points to move up 29 spots to No. 22, giving him an excellent shot at making the Tour Championship.

Oberholser was within one shot of Mickelson most of the back nine, but he needed an eagle on the final hole to force a playoff, then missed a 10-foot birdie putt when the tournament was sealed. He moved up to No. 29 in the playoff standings; had he made the birdie putt, he would have gone to No. 20 and clinched a spot at East Lake for the Tour Championship.

John Mallinger and Bo Van Pelt moved into the top 70 to advance to the third round next week in Chicago.

Woods and Mickelson played together for the third time this week, but the final round put an end to the chatter, and seemed to double the size of the gallery that had followed them around the first two days of the tournament.

Woods twice was in position to apply some pressure on Lefty and both times failed, a sign of things to come. Woods had a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5 second hole that he left short, and a 65-foot eagle putt on the 298-yard fourth hole that he three-putted for par.

Mickelson, who matched Woods’ birdie at No. 2 with a nifty pitch, hit his bunker shot on No. 4 just onto the fringe about 15 feet away and made that for birdie. Mickelson stretched his margin over Woods to three shot with an approach on No. 5 into about 4 feet.

Woods had another advantage on the par-5 seventh, his third putt for eagle on the front nine. He two-putted for birdie, but Mickelson matched him again with a long bunker shot to 6 feet.

The difference in their games was largely on the greens. Mickelson took only 11 putts on the front nine, including a 12-foot par save on the sixth when he flew the green. Woods had 17 putts, the longest he made was 4 feet for par on the third hole.

Woods fell five shots behind at the turn, and even when Mickelson gave him a slight opening, the world’s No. 1 player stumbled trying to bust through the door.

Despite holding a three-shot lead over Oberholser – and still five over Woods – Mickelson went at the flag on No. 12 and came up short into the hazard. Mickelson chipped up to 5 feet and missed to make double bogey. Woods had a prime chance to make it a three-shot swing, but his 15-foot birdie was well off line.

And this came one hole after Woods missed an 8-foot birdie, as Lefty made from 6 feet for par.

Woods tried to keep it interesting with a 40-foot birdie on the 14th hole to get within two shots, but that was as close as Mickelson allowed him to get. The key shot came on the par-3 16th, after Woods hit 8-iron into 10 feet. Mickelson followed with an 8-iron that never left the flag and stopped 6 feet below the hole.

Final scores with earnings and relation to par from the Deutsche Bank Championship, played Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at the par-71,7,207-yard TPC Boston in Norton, Mass. (Note: FedEx Cup points in parenthesis):

1. Phil Mickelson (9000) $1,260,000
70-64-68-66–268

-16 2. Tiger Woods (3733) 522,667
72-64-67-67–270

-14 2. Brett Wetterich (3733) 522,667
66-68-66-70–270

-14 2. Arron Oberholser (3733) 522,667
69-66-66-69–270

-14 5. Aaron Baddeley (2000) 280,000
67-66-70-70–273

-11 6. Geoff Ogilvy (1738) 243,250
70-70-67-67–274

-10 6. Rory Sabbatini (1738) 243,250
68-67-70-69–274

-10 8. Robert Allenby (1550) 217,000
69-69-70-67–275

-9 9. Sean O'Hair (1250) 175,000
68-66-74-68–276

-8 9. Fredrik Jacobson (1250) 175,000
66-72-70-68–276

-8 9. Troy Matteson (1250) 175,000
71-66-69-70–276

-8 9. Steve Stricker (1250) 175,000
67-69-69-71–276

-8 9. Camilo Villegas (1250) 175,000
63-72-69-72–276

-8 14. John Mallinger (900) 126,000
73-69-67-68–277

-7 14. Charlie Wi (900) 126,000
67-72-69-69–277

-7 14. Lucas Glover (900) 126,000
69-70-66-72–277

-7 17. George McNeill (677) 94,733
71-69-70-68–278

-6 17. Nathan Green (677) 94,733
72-70-67-69–278

-6 17. Ryuji Imada (677) 94,733
69-66-72-71–278

-6 17. Cliff Kresge (677) 94,733
69-71-67-71–278

-6 17. Sergio Garcia (677) 94,733
67-71-68-72–278

-6 17. Adam Scott (677) 94,733
68-72-66-72–278

-6 23. Jonathan Byrd (421) 59,000
69-70-70-70–279

-5 23. Trevor Immelman (421) 59,000
67-74-68-70–279

-5 23. Heath Slocum (421) 59,000
66-70-72-71–279

-5 23. Steve Elkington (421) 59,000
66-70-70-73–279

-5 23. John Senden (421) 59,000
67-71-67-74–279

-5 23. Jason Gore (421) 59,000
70-71-64-74–279

-5 23. Angel Cabrera (421) 59,000
70-69-65-75–279

-5 30. Paul Goydos (273) 38,182
75-67-71-67–280

-4 30. Mark Wilson (273) 38,182
73-68-72-67–280

-4 30. Dean Wilson (273) 38,182
70-71-71-68–280

-4 30. Charles Howell III (273) 38,182
69-69-72-70–280

-4 30. Woody Austin (273) 38,182
71-68-70-71–280

-4 30. Zach Johnson (273) 38,182
68-72-68-72–280

-4 30. Mike Weir (273) 38,182
65-68-74-73–280

-4 30. Will MacKenzie (273) 38,182
70-72-65-73–280

-4 30. Rich Beem (273) 38,182
67-66-73-74–280

-4 30. Bo Van Pelt (273) 38,182
68-69-69-74–280

-4 30. Briny Baird (273) 38,182
71-68-67-74–280

-4 41. Ryan Moore (180) 25,200
65-69-77-70–281

-3 41. Rod Pampling (180) 25,200
74-67-68-72–281

-3 41. Vaughn Taylor (180) 25,200
68-73-68-72–281

-3 41. Matt Kuchar (180) 25,200
68-72-68-73–281

-3 41. Boo Weekley (180) 25,200
73-69-66-73–281

-3 41. Bart Bryant (180) 25,200
72-67-66-76–281

-3 47. Brandt Snedeker (132) 18,508
71-72-73-66–282

-2 47. Kenny Perry (132) 18,508
68-71-73-70–282

-2 47. John Rollins (132) 18,508
70-69-72-71–282

-2 47. Doug LaBelle II (132) 18,508
73-69-69-71–282

-2 47. Brian Bateman (132) 18,508
69-72-70-71–282

-2 52. Joe Ogilvie (118) 16,520
70-69-72-72–283

-1 52. Rocco Mediate (118) 16,520
71-72-66-74–283

-1 52. Tom Pernice, Jr. (118) 16,520
75-65-67-76–283

-1 55. Justin Leonard (113) 15,820
72-70-75-67–284

E 55. Henrik Stenson (113) 15,820
66-73-75-70–284

E 55. Stephen Ames (113) 15,820
68-73-69-74–284

E 55. Jim Furyk (113) 15,820
68-73-69-74–284

E 55. Craig Kanada (113) 15,820
67-68-72-77–284

E 60. Tim Herron (108) 15,120
71-72-74-68–285
+ 1 60. Vijay Singh (108) 15,120
74-66-73-72–285
+ 1 60. Luke Donald (108) 15,120
72-66-73-74–285
+ 1 60. Chad Campbell (108) 15,120
70-70-71-74–285
+ 1 60. Tommy Armour III (108) 15,120
68-70-72-75–285
+ 1 65. Jerry Kelly (104) 14,490
71-72-73-70–286
+ 2 65. Robert Garrigus (104) 14,490
69-72-72-73–286
+ 2 65. Jeff Maggert (104) 14,490
69-73-70-74–286
+ 2 65. Ken Duke (104) 14,490
70-72-69-75–286
+ 2 69. Kevin Na (101) 14,140
71-71-69-76–287
+ 3 70. Brian Gay (100) 13,930
74-69-72-73–288
+ 4 70. Daniel Chopra (100) 13,930
70-70-74-74–288
+ 4 72. Mark Calcavecchia (97) 13,580
72-70-77-71–290
+ 6 72. Charles Warren (97) 13,580
69-74-73-74–290
+ 6 72. Brian Davis (97) 13,580
68-71-75-76–290
+ 6 75. Steve Flesch (95) 13,300
71-72-71-78–292
+ 8 • • •

Missed the cut

76. Carl Pettersson

72-72–144
+ 2 76. Anthony Kim

73-71–144
+ 2 76. Padraig Harrington

72-72–144
+ 2 76. Tim Petrovic

71-73–144
+ 2 76. D.J. Trahan

71-73–144
+ 2 76. Steve Marino

70-74–144
+ 2 76. Retief Goosen

73-71–144
+ 2 76. Ben Curtis

72-72–144
+ 2 84. Charley Hoffman

73-72–145
+ 3 84. Ian Poulter

73-72–145
+ 3 84. Davis Love III

75-70–145
+ 3 84. Brett Quigley

71-74–145
+ 3 84. Chris DiMarco

73-72–145
+ 3 84. Kevin Sutherland

68-77–145
+ 3 84. Hunter Mahan

71-74–145
+ 3 84. Tim Clark

69-76–145
+ 3 84. Stuart Appleby

69-76–145
+ 3 84. Jeff Overton

72-73–145
+ 3 94. Harrison Frazar

74-72–146
+ 4 94. Peter Lonard

72-74–146
+ 4 94. Jeff Quinney

71-75–146
+ 4 94. Nick Watney

75-71–146
+ 4 94. J.J. Henry

72-74–146
+ 4 94. Jose Coceres

73-73–146
+ 4 100. Justin Rose

71-76–147
+ 5 100. Billy Mayfair

73-74–147
+ 5 100. Bubba Watson

78-69–147
+ 5 100. Bob Estes

70-77–147
+ 5 104. Stewart Cink

72-76–148
+ 6 104. Nick O'Hern

78-70–148
+ 6 104. Ted Purdy

77-71–148
+ 6 104. Shaun Micheel

77-71–148
+ 6 108. J.B. Holmes

72-80–152
+ 10 109. Kevin Stadler

74-80–154
+ 12 WD. K.J. Choi

73-WD

WD. Pat Perez

72-WD

WD. Stephen Leaney

71-WD

WD. Fred Funk

76-WD

WD. David Toms

75-WD

WD. J.P. Hayes

79-WD

DNS. Tom Lehman

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