Having had to settle for a 60 in the first round when his birdie putt on the final green lipped out, the brilliant left hander followed up with rounds of 65 and 64 on Friday and Saturday but even then found himself under pressure from a string of dangerous pursuers led by his US Ryder Cup team-mate Brandt Snedeker until yesterday’s 67 left him on 28 under par and four clear of the field.
Snedeker finished four behind Mickelson followed by Scott Piercy, who closed with a 61.
Unfortunately, Ireland’s Pádraig Harrington fell off the pace in yesterday’s final round when he went out in the final group with Mickelson and Snedeker.
Having putted beautifully for the first three days, he missed some gilt-edged chances and was unable to keep in step with the leaders. Having hit a super drive down the final hole, he sent his approach over the back of the green from where he took three more and have to settle for 9th place on 16under.
Meanwhile, Shane Lowry faces an anxious week-long wait before discovering if he qualifies for the WGC–Accenture Match-Play later this month.
Lowry arrived home this morning having missed the cut in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and looks certain to drop further down the rankings from his current position of 62nd.
The top-64 in the world as of next Monday will tee-up in the €6.4m event in Arizona on February 20.