Phil Mickelson landed his second title of the year by holding off Nick Watney at the World Golf Championships - CA Championship.
Mickelson, who had been treated overnight for heat exhaustion and dehydration, showed no ill effects from his visit to a hospital emergency room as he out duelled fellow American Watney over the back nine at Doral having emerged from a see-saw battle with the World Number 78 in the first half of the final round.
World Number Three Mickelson parred the final seven holes to collect the US$1.4 million winner’s cheque with a last day 69 to finish at 19 under par, one shot better than his overnight co-leader Watney.
It was his first World Golf Championships victory in his 27th attempt and his 36th win on the US PGA Tour, adding to his Northern Trust Open win at Riviera Country Club last month.
Mickelson said he had been suffering from a virus for the past three days and he had been concerned about his health throughout his final round as he tried to stay hydrated by sipping frequently from bottles of Gatorade.
“I fought hard all day and wasn’t really able to pay attention to some of the great shots that Nick hit because I was so worried about keeping my energy level high and steady throughout the round,” Mickelson said.
“I haven’t eaten much in three days and I fought hard. I knew I was playing some of my best golf coming in here and I was playing well so I’m very excited to have finished it off.”
Jim Furyk was a strong finishing third at 16 under par following a closing 67, with India’s Jeev Milkha Singh fourth and the leading European Tour Member on 14 under.
Watney had one last chance to put pressure on Mickelson on the last green with a birdie putt from 29 feet on the fringe but his ball stopped just short and Mickelson putted for victory.
“I thought it was on a really good line,” Watney said of his putt on 18.
“I can’t believe I left it short. Unfortunately I just didn’t hit it hard enough.
“I’m pleased with the way I played. Right now it still hurts to finish second; disappointing to come up one shot short. But overall it was a positive week, and just got to keep working hard.”
England’s Oliver Wilson scored his best finish on the US PGA Tour by shooting a 66 to finish in a tie for fifth place alongside Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, with Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen and Thomas Aiken of South Africa tied for seventh on 12 under.
World Number One Tiger Woods produced his second 68 of the weekend to finish tied for ninth with Rod Pampling of Australia and fellow American Kenny Perry at 11 under, to maintain his record of always finishing in the top ten, both in WGC stroke play events and at Doral.
The lead had changed hands three times between Mickelson and Watney over the front nine with Watney holing in a chip at the ninth from 80 feet, beneath the hole at the back of the green and between a spectator stand and a television tower.
Both men birdied the tenth to go to 20 under but Watney dropped a shot at the 11th and they both bogeyed the 12th.
Furyk moved to 16 under with birdies at the 15th and 16th holes but Mickelson kept his nerve to par all his remaining holes and stay one shot ahead of his rival.
Watney had one last chance to put pressure on Mickelson on the last green with a birdie putt from 29 feet on the fringe but his ball stopped just a couple of feet short and Mickelson putted from inside three feet for victory.
Wilson was delighted with his week and a final round, six birdie, no bogey 66 on the par 72 Blue Monster course.
“It feels pretty good to be honest,” Wilson said afterwards. “Yesterday was probably one of the best rounds I've played for a while shooting level, I really hung in and ground it out and it gave me a chance to do what I did today so it worked out pretty good.”