Phil Mickelson raced out to a fast start and staved off the triumvirate of Tiger Woods, Arron Olberholser and Brett Wetterich by two strokes to win the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Mickelson shot a five-under-par 66 yesterday and finished the second event of the inaugural FedEx Cup playoff series tournament at 16-under-par 268 to claim his third victory of the year.
Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson was the top European tied for ninth with an eight under-par 276 after shooting a three under-par 68 yesterday.
He was followed by Sergio Garcia who was tied for 17th with Henrik Stenson in joint 55th while Luke Donald was the top Briton in joint 60th with Brian Davis in joint 72nd.
Mickelson won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and The Players Championship earlier this year.
Facing Woods head-to-head for the first time in 18 months, Mickelson never looked back after birdies at four of the first seven holes.
Mickelson took advantage of ideal playing conditions to card birdies on the second, fourth, fifth and seventh to erase a two-shot advantage by third-round leader Wetterich.
“Now the next step is to try to hopefully go head-to-head in a major,” Mickelson said. “We don’t get paired very often in majors, and hopefully next year in ’08, we’ll have a chance to do that.”
Woods, the world number one, was four-under yesterday and finished at 14-under for the tournament.
He made a late charge by posting birdies on the 14th and 16th but was unable to sink a key 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th while a 33-foot putt for eagle on the 18th fell short, effectively ending his chance at victory.
“Unfortunately, I just didn’t make enough putts to really push him,” Woods said.
Olberholser shot two-under to finish in second place at 14-under, while Wetterich birdied his final hole for a 70 to join the second-place trio.
The victory put Mickelson atop the FedEx Cup points standings with 108,612, followed by Steve Stricker with 106,200 and Woods at 103, 733.
The leading 70 on the FedEx Cup points list qualify for next week’s BMW Championship.
The top 30 will then qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta, where a £4.95m (€7.3m) bonus will be earned by the overall points champion.