Date: September 28, 2009
Author: PA Sport

Lefty leaves it late

Phil Mickelson has come from four shots back to win the Tour Championship in Georgia, finishing the weekend nine strokes ahead of the nearest Australian in John Senden. However Tiger Woods was the biggest winner as he took a $10 million (USD) bonus as the season-long FedEx Cup champion. Mickelson, though, began the day at four under par, four behind overnight leader Kenny Perry and two behind world number one Woods. But the veteran eclipsed both men with a five-under-par round of 65 at Atlanta&aposs East Lake Golf Club to claim the prize. It was his first win since taking the WGC-CA Championship at Doral in March and since wife Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer, a situation that saw the left-hander take time off in mid-summer as she began treatment. It was during that time that Mickelson&aposs mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer. “It really feels great to have won,” Mickelson said. “It&aposs been a frustrating go the last few months and so to be able to come out and get somewhat in contention on a Sunday, four back, and then to be able to put together this round feels terrific.” “This wasn&apost a banner year but this certainly makes it a better year than it was,” he said. Woods shot a level-par 70 to claim second place as Perry fell away with a 74, and his runner-up finish was good enough to maintain his lead in the FedEx Cup standings at the end of a PGA Tour season which saw him win six times despite having just returned to the game in February after eight months out following knee surgery. Sean O&aposHair was third at five under with Perry sharing fourth place with Padraig Harrington, the Irishman securing his sixth consecutive top-10 finish after a miserable first seven months of the season. American veteran Perry, 49, had begun the day with a two-stroke cushion over Woods but could not get the job done despite his playing partner having hit trouble first. Woods, who teed off knowing victory would guarantee him the bonus, found left-side trees off the first tee with a three-wood, his ball settling behind a tree, forcing him to play out sideways on the way to an opening bogey, immediately handing Perry a three-shot lead. Perry missed his birdie putt but gave himself a four-shot cushion with a birdie at the second, only to give a shot back at the third after he overshot the green with an approach that plugged on a downhill lie in a bunker. The Kentuckian also bogeyed the fifth as world number three Mickelson moved into contention, narrowing Perry&aposs lead to one shot with birdies at the third and fourth holes to get to six under par. Mickelson, needing a scenario which involved Woods finishing in a tie for eighth or worse to land the USD10m bonus, pulled level with Perry at the eighth after he dialled in his approach shot from 123 yards out to inside two feet for birdie. Mickelson, using a new putting stroke with a wide stance, was also putting superbly and he rolled in his 19th birdie of the week at the par-five ninth with his seventh one-putt in a row, downhill from 12 feet to take the outright lead at eight under par. Woods, at five under par, and in a tie for third with Sean O&aposHair, after nine holes, and Steve Marino, after 10, was still in control of his FedEx Cup lead. He parred his way through the rest of the front nine knowing Mickelson&aposs surge was helping him also in keeping Perry at bay. He was not without chances of his own, though and Woods missed a birdie opportunity at the par-five ninth from inside 16 feet to complete a birdie-free front nine. For the Australian contingent, meanwhile, Senden finished the weekend on even par overall, having dropped a stroke in a round of 71 on Sunday. He was still two strokes to the good of compatriot Geoff Ogilvy (70) and 12 ahead of Marc Leishman (78). PGA Tour, Final Round of the Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atalanta -9: Phil Mickelson 73 67 66 65 -6: Tiger Woods 67 68 69 70 -5: Sean O Hair 66 70 70 69 -4: Padraig Harrington 67 69 71 69, Kenny Perry 72 66 64 74 -3: Steve Stricker 70 72 66 69 -2: Jim Furyk 72 68 71 67, Steve Marino 69 71 67 71 -1: Ernie Els 71 66 71 71 E: Lucas Glover 68 71 72 69, Jerry Kelly 71 67 71 71, John Senden (Australia) 70 70 69 71 +1: Angel Cabrera 72 67 70 72, David Toms 74 66 70 71, Nick Watney 70 69 71 71 +2: Zach Johnson 70 72 73 67, Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 75 73 64 70 +3: Y.E. Yang 71 75 66 71 +4: Stewart Cink 67 72 70 75, Jason Dufner 71 68 73 72, Heath Slocum 73 68 71 72 Also: +12: Marc Leishman (Australia) 70 74 70 78