Archive for Monday, February 12, 2001

Mickelson wins Buick playoff

Golfer claims improbable victory over Lickliter

February 12, 2001

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— Phil Mickelson claimed a wild playoff victory Sunday in the Buick Invitational.

He had to hit three tee shots on the third playoff hole, and the only one that found the fairway didn't count. He wound up winning with a double bogey, but only after Frank Lickliter went from likely winner to shocking loser with a three-putt from 12 feet.

"An awkward playoff," Mickelson said.

Trying to win for the first time, Lickliter followed Mickelson into a canyon with his tee shot on the 17th, was on the threshold of victory with a wedge into 12 feet, then walked off in stunned silence after his three-putt for triple bogey.

"I'm in shock right now," Lickliter said, his voice cracking.

Davis Love III was eliminated from the playoff on the second sudden-death hole when he failed to save par from the bunker on No. 16.

All three players finished at 19-under 269. All had eagle putts to win in regulation on the par-5 18th, and again on No. 18 in the playoff.

Mickelson hit first on the third playoff hole, the 425-yard 17th, and fanned his drive into a canyon left of the fairway, leaving him with virtually no chance at par. Lickliter followed by hitting his drive in the exact same spot. Both hit provisional tee shots, assuming the balls would not be found, and both hit the fairway with their third shots.

Lickliter found his ball and had to go back to the tee and hit his third shot again. Mickelson was already in the fairway. Much to his chagrin, someone in the gallery found it for him and he had to replay his third shot, too.

Lickliter hit the fairway for the third time. Mickelson's ball headed for the canyon again. Mickelson hit an approach to 25 feet. From the fairway, Lickliter hit his wedge to 12 feet, then 3-putted.

Tiger Woods shot a third straight 67, two strokes out of the lead and in fourth place.

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