MEXICO CITY – American Phil Mickelson ended on Sunday a long drought without a tournament title by capturing the WGC-Mexico Championship, edging out countryman Justin Thomas on the first playoff hole.
The 47-year-old Mickelson, winner of five major championships and now 43 PGA Tour titles, had not come out on top since the British Open in July 2013.
Thomas stood at just even par through two rounds at the Club de Golf de Chapultepec course in Mexico City, but he stormed back on the weekend to post rounds of 62 and 64 and nearly win the event.
The world No. 2 also hit one of the shots of the tournament when he holed his approach shot for an eagle on the par-4 18th hole to give himself the clubhouse lead on Sunday.
Several groups were still on the course though, including one that included surprise third-round leader Shubhankar Sharma of India, England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Mickelson, who needed birdies on the 15th and 16th holes and a clutch par putt on the 18th to tie Thomas at 16-under par and force a playoff.
The sudden-death playoff lasted just one hole, with Thomas hitting his tee shot slightly past the green on the par-3 17th hole, chunking his chip shot and missing a long par putt.
Mickelson, who won with a par on the playoff hole after barely missing his birdie putt, said the title was especially meaningful to him.
“It’s been a tough go the last four years,” Mickelson said afterward. “Not playing my best but to have the belief that I was going to get there and (then) to finally break through and do it feels incredible.”
This year’s WGC-Mexico Championship had a total purse of $10 million, one of the biggest outside of golf’s major tournaments.
As the winner Mickelson took home $1.8 million, the largest payout thus far in the 2018 PGA Tour season.