WGC-Mexico ChampionshipMarch 4, 2018

Phil Mickelson defeats Justin Thomas in playoff for first victory since 2013

Phil Mickelson
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After a four-plus-year, 97-tournament wait, Phil Mickelson finally is a winner again on the PGA Tour. A par on first playoff hole at the WGC-Mexico Championship was all Mickelson needed to get his first victory since the 2013 Open Championship, defeating arguably the hottest golfer in the world, Justin Thomas, in the process.

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"I don't know what to say. It's been a tough go the last four years, not playing my best, but to have the belief that I was going to get there and to finally break through and do it was incredible," said Mickelson, who at 47 became the oldest winner of a WGC title. "I believe that more is to come, and I feel like I'm starting to play some of my best golf. To culminate here in Mexico City with a World Golf Championship victory is exciting to me beyond words because it just validates the hard work I put in and the struggle for the last few years to finally get my game back."

Mickelson's best golf was on display Sunday at Club de Golf Chapultepec, where he posted a five-under 66 to get to 16-under 268. It would have been enough to win in regulation had Thomas not pulled out some final-round heroics, carding a seven-under 64 that included an incredible hole-out for eagle at the 72nd hole. It's Mickelson's 43rd career victory, and third WGC win, the last coming in 2009 at Trump National Doral in this same event.

"I knew that wasn't going to be the last one, and this isn't either," Mickelson said when asked if he ever thought his Open win at Muirfield might have been the final victory of his career.

Indeed, Mickelson had seen his game improve steadily over the last few weeks, having finished T-5 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, T-2 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and T-6 at the Genesis Open.

Thomas, who played his final 36 holes in 16 under, tying the weekend record on the PGA Tour, wasn't able to capture back-to-back victories after winning a playoff last week at Honda Classic. But his form of late—he has won seven PGA Tour titles in his last 32 starts—suggests he's just getting started in 2018.

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Thomas struggled early in Mexico, but a 62-64 weekend finish nearly was good enough for his eighth PGA Tour win in 32 starts.

"It's a bummer. I mean, if you would have told me I would have been in a playoff after two rounds I would have told you you're lying. But I played unbelievable golf these past two days," Thomas said. "I'm probably more proud of myself than I ever have been."

Finishing in a tie for third at 15-under 269 were Rafa Cabrera Bello and Tyrrell Hatton, who each carded four-under 67s. While Hatton and Cabrera Bello have each won three times on the European Tour, they are both still in search of their first PGA Tour victories.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished T-5 after shooting a final-round six-under 65 to get to 13-under 271. He now has four career finishes of T-6 or better in just 30 starts on the PGA Tour.

Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia tied for seventh at 12-under 272, while 54-hole leader Shubhankar Sharma finished at 10-under 274.

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