Sunday's golf: Phil Mickelson wins again on Champions; Jin Young Ko goes wire-to-wire
Jacksonville, Fla. — Phil Mickelson won for the third time in four career PGA Tour Champions starts, closing with a 4-under 68 on Sunday for a two-shot victory in the Constellation Furyk & Friends.
The 51-year-old Mickelson won for the first time since his out-of-nowhere triumph at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in May for his sixth career major title. He has struggled on the PGA Tour since then, and this was his first Champions event since February.
Miguel Angel Jimenez battled with Mickelson throughout the day at breezy Timuquana Country Club and pulled even with birdies on the par-5 13th — where Mickelson three-putted for par — and the par-3 14th. But Mickelson converted a two-putt birdie on the par-5 15th to move ahead for good.
Jimenez shot a 68, nearly holing a long birdie putt on the par-4 18th that would have forced Mickelson to make his 10-foot birdie for the win. Mickelson holed it anyway for the two-shot margin.
Mickelson finished the first-year event at 15-under 201. Last year, he opened his senior career with consecutive victories in Missouri and Virginia.
Mickelson said he plans to play at least two more tournaments on the 50-and-over tour this fall – in Richmond, where he’s the defending champion, and at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
In Las Vegas, Sungjae Im turned a shootout into a one-man show Sunday in Las Vegas, running the tables with seven birdies in eight holes around the turn for a 9-under 62 and a four-shot victory in the Shriners Children’s Open.
Im was among four players who had at least a share of the lead on the front nine of the TPC Summerlin on an ideal day of scoring with little wind.
When he holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole, the third-toughest on the course, to tie for the lead, the 23-year-old South Korean was just getting started.
He closed out the front nine with a simple up-and-down short of the green on the par-5 ninth to take the lead, then ran off four more birdies, the best of that lot on No. 10 when he went from a fairway bunker to 25 feet and made the putt.
No one else could keep up. His strongest challenger, Matthew Wolff, rolled in an 18-foot birdie on the ninth to keep pace. He had two misses off the tee that cost him.
Wolff had to pitch out to the fairway from high grass right of the 10th, leading to his first bogey. And he was deep in the bunker on the par-5 13th and barely got it out into a nasty lie, advanced that only about 90 yards and took bogey that felt much worse.
Wolff recovered with two birdies for a 68 – his 12th round in the 60s in as many tries at the TPC Summerlin — and was runner-up.
In West Caldwell, New Jersey, Jin Young Ko finished off a wire-to-wire victory in the Cognizant Founders Cup with her 14th consecutive round in the 60s that matched a 16-year record held by Annika Sorenstam.
Even in a steady rain at Mountain Ridge, the 26-year-old South Korean star made it look easy. She closed with a 5-under 66 for a four-shot victory over Caroline Masson of Germany. Ko finished at 18-under 266.
It was her 14th consecutive round in the 60s dating to a 69 in the final round of the Evian Championship. That ties the mark Sorenstam set in the middle of her 10-win season in 2005.
Ko joined Nelly Korda as the only three-time winners on the LPGA Tour this season, and she became the fifth South Korean with at least 10 victories, still well short of the record 25 held by pioneer Se Ri Pak.
Ko successfully defended her title at the Founders Cup, though it was as different as could be. The tournament was held in Phoenix in 2019, was canceled last year during the pandemic, and then picked up a new title sponsor and moved to the Donald Ross design in New Jersey.
Those back-to-back victories came two years, six months and 16 days apart on opposite ends of the country. More importantly, she pulled within 20 points of Korda in the Race to the CME Globe with the end of the season fast approaching.
In Madrid, Rafa Cabrera Bello birdied the first playoff hole in a Spanish duel with Adri Arnaus to win the Spanish Open.
Cabrera Bello closed with a 2-under 69 to force a playoff with Arnaus (67), who was going for his first European Tour victory. Arnaus had a birdie putt to win in regulation and just missed.
Jon Rahm, the No. 1 player in the world and two-time defending champion, couldn’t mount a charge and shot 69 to tie for 17th.
Cabrera Bello won for the fourth time on the European Tour, his first title since the Scottish Open in 2017. He is the 13th Spaniard to win on home soil.
Three players ended two shots off the lead – Frenchman Julien Guerrier (69), India’s Sharma Shubhankar (66) and Scotland’s Grant Forrest (65), who had a hole-in-one on the first round and finished with five birdies and an eagle on his last seven holes on Sunday.