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GOLF ROUNDUP

Mickelson has 3-stroke lead at suspended AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 10: Phil Mickelson of the United States plays his shot from the 12th tee during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 10, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Phil Mickelson plays his shot from the 12th tee during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach.

Phil Mickelson had everything go his way Sunday in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

He just couldn’t beat the darkness.

On a wild day of weather even by Pebble Beach, Calif., standards, sunshine gave way to a hail storm that covered the greens in a sheet of white in a matter of minutes. The delay kept Mickelson from finishing off a remarkable rally in which he turned a three-shot deficit against Paul Casey into a three-shot lead until it was too dark to finish the last two holes.

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Mickelson at least wanted to try.

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‘‘I can see fine,’’ he said to a PGA Tour rules official as they walked up the 16th fairway. ‘‘I don’t want to put Paul in a bad spot.’’

Casey simply couldn’t see, and we realized it was not possible to finish all 18 holes — ‘‘We can’t finish two holes in six minutes,’’ he said to the official — he opted to mark his ball on the 16th green.

Mickelson already made his par on the 16th and was 6 under for the day, with no bogeys on his card, and 18-under par for the tournament.

Casey has a 3-foot par putt to stay three shots behind when they return at 8 a.m. local time Monday to play the par-3 17th and the par-5 18th.

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Lost in the late start — one hour delay from rain, a two-hour suspension from hail — was sheer brilliance from the 48-year-old Mickelson who didn’t come remotely close to making a bogey and was on the brink of a fifth victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

His first one also was a Monday finish, when players returned in August — more than six months later — to finish the third round of the weather-plagued tournament to make it official.

‘‘We've got two tough holes left and I don’t want to jump the gun and get past that,’’ Mickelson said. ‘‘I know a lot can happen in these two holes and they have happened in the past, so I want to stay focused and just come out tomorrow and try to finish it off. I wish we could do it tonight.’’

Mickelson made his big run starting with a 9-iron to a foot behind the cup on the par-4 ninth. That was start of a five-hole stretch when Mickelson made three birdies and Casey had two bogeys, taking Lefty from two behind to three ahead.

‘‘I didn’t make anything. I hit some good golf shots and didn’t get anything out of it today,’’ Casey said. ‘‘Phil has put together a spectacular round of golf so far — 6 under, no dropped shots. Remarkable stuff.’’

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Even as Mickelson strongly hinted at wanting to finish — at one point suggesting they play the 17th and he could scoot ahead to get a ball in play on the 18th so at least he could finish — Casey stood his ground.

Casey was at 15 under, tied with Scott Stallings, who closed with a 66. Along with an outside chance at forcing a playoff, finishing alone in second instead of a tie is a difference of $152,000, along with world ranking points and FedEx Cup points.

Casey and FedEx executive Don Colleran had a one-shot lead in the pro-am.

Mickelson was standing on the 17th tee when he heard the horn sound to stop play, and he shook his head.

The rest of his day was far better than the weather.

Mickelson is on the verge of winning for the 44th time in his career, and matching Mark O'Meara with five victories at a tournament he first played in 1995.

It also would be his first victory on American soil since the Phoenix Open six years ago. He won the British Open that summer in Scotland, and the Mexico Championship last year.

Mickelson and Casey were waiting to tee off when clouds moved in quickly moved in, and rain turned into hail that pounded umbrellas, many of them held sideways to account for the wind.

Greens quickly were covered by the tiny white pellets, and workers went from using squeegees for excess water to power blowers to remove the hail.

Sam Saunders, whose grandfather Arnold Palmer was among the Pebble Beach owners, scooped up hail and tossed it like a snowball. Patrick Reed’s brother laid on his back and tried to make a snow angel.

There was never a reasonable chance to finish in his pro-am format, with mostly foursomes across the golf course.

Casey has never won in three previous times he had a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, all of them by two shots or more, and he was holding his own against the relentless pursuit of Mickelson, who missed three straight birdie putts from the 12-foot range by the slimmest margins. Casey had great par saves, and then Mickelson took off.

After his 9-iron into a foot at No. 9 to get within one shot, Mickelson holed a 12-foot birdie on the 10th with a drive that hugged the right side of the fairway and likely would have bounced into the ocean if not for conditions so soft from rain that balls plugged where they landed.

Casey blinked first with a bogey on the 11th hole, and another on the par-3 12th when his tee shot came up short and into the bunker. Mickelson poured it on, showing his skills have not deteriorated a bit at age 48, controlling spin beautifully to back pin positions.

Champions — Bernhard Langer made himself right at home in the Oasis Championship in Boca Raton, Fla. Playing 10 minutes from his house, Langer closed with a 7-under 65 at The Old Course at Broken Sound for a five-stroke victory.

The 61-year-old German star birdied five of the first seven holes in a bogey-free round.

‘‘There’s many things to celebrate,’’ Langer said. ‘‘It means a great deal to win in front of your home crowd, your family, your friends. Winning at home is always extremely special, no doubt about it. It made it more special having my first win with my daughter Jackie, who’s only caddied three times for me.’’

Langer finished at 19-under 197 for his 39th victory on the 50-and-over PGA Champions Tour event. He also won the 2010 event and finished second last year.

Marco Dawson was second after a 69. Bob Estes shot a 68 to finish third at 13 under, and David Toms was another stroke back after a 70.

Scott McCarron (67), Gene Sauers (69) and Woody Austin (70) were 11 under.

Retief Goosen (72) tied for 24th at 6 under in his senior debut. Gary Nicklaus, also making his first tour start, had a 73 to tie for 51st at 1 over. The 50-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus played on a sponsor exemption.

LPGA/European — Celine Boutier of France claimed a two-stroke victory in the LPGA’s Vic Open in Barwon Heads, Australia.

On the same course, Scotland’s David Law made eagle on the par-5 18th to win the men’s European Tour event title by a stroke over Australians Brad Kennedy and Wade Ormsby.

Boutier shot a final-round 72 to finish at 8-under 281. Australians Sarah Kemp (65) and Su Oh (74) and England’s Charlotte Thomas (69) were tied for second.

Law’s final-round 66 left him a stroke ahead of Kennedy (67) and third-round leader Ormsby (70) at 18-under 270 on the 13th Beach Golf Links to win his first European Tour tournament.

The Women’s Australian Open, also sanctioned by the LPGA, will be played next week at The Grange in Adelaide. The men’s European Tour is co-sanctioning the Perth World Super 6 in Western Australia next week.