A final round 63 helped left hander Phil Mickelson to his third PGA tour title of the year as he ousted Stewart Cink in the Colonial Invitational.
Mickelson began the final round six shots behind Cink, and had lost another shot after hitting into a greenside bunker on the ninth. Then he birdied three straight holes to start the back nine.
Mickelson, who lost in a playoff to Jesper Parnevik last week at the Byron Nelson Classic, fired five birdies on the back nine, and made a 20-footer on the 18th to move to 12-under par. Mickelson, who also won the Buick Invitational and BellSouth Classic this year was aided by a collapse from Cink and Davis Love III.
The 18th-hole birdie for Mickelson, who won for the 16th time in his career, came just before Cink's drive at the 15th hole dropped into thick rough after hitting a tree. Cink's approach at the 430-yard hole stopped just short of a greenside bunker, then he made a nice pitch within about 6 feet only for him to slide the par-saving putt past the hole. That dropped him even with Mickelson and out of sole possession of the lead for the first time during the final round.
The lead was gone when Cink three-putted the 17th hole. His 40-foot putt slid past the hole, and then he missed the 4-footer coming back and ended with a bogey 5 that put him 11 under.
"A couple of putts he normally makes just didn't go in for him and that was to my benefit," Mickelson said. "Certainly, that's not the way I look at the way the tournament went. I look at it as I shot 63 to have a chance and it was enough." Mickelson, who turns 30 in June, collected a $594,000 check, the largest of his nine-year career. He has won $2.3 million this season, surpassing the $2 million mark for the first time.
Love, who along with Mickelson lost in a playoff to Jesper Parnevik at last week's GTE Byron Nelson Classic, finished in second place for the eighth time since his last victory at the 1998 MCI Classic, 48 tournaments ago.
Cink, who turned 27 on Sunday, ended with a bogey at 18 for a loss of three strokes over the last four holes. Cink, who won the MCI Classic last month, was trying to join Mickelson, Woods, Parnevik and Hal Sutton as multiple winners this season.
"I was on fire early and then got a little shaky, then played great, then played badly," Cink said. "There are a lot of things I wish I could do over. I just lost it. You can't open the door on guys like these."
The final bogey was his fifth over the last 14 holes, after just three over the first 58 of the tournament. Cink was 10 under with just one bogey for the 31 holes he played Saturday, including the completion of his rain-delayed second round and the third round, that gave him a three-stroke lead over Love going into the final round. Mickelson, who shot a 70 Saturday, went into the final round six strokes behind Cink.
The left-hander first made noise with birdies at Nos. 3 and 4, the beginning of Colonial Country Club's horrible horseshoe.
The horseshoe, its nickname gained because of the layout and difficulty, includes the course's two longest par-4s, the 476-yard third hole and the 470-yard fifth hole, and the 246-yard, par-3 fourth hole.
Cink was the only player to manage birdies during the week at all three of those holes. Like Mickelson, he birdied the first two Sunday, but then he shanked a 2-foot putt after a nice chip and bogeyed the fifth.
"I was going along pretty good until then," Cink said. Love fell out serious contention after a bogey at nine, when he drove into the trees way right of the fairway and hit his second shot through the green. Even though he saved par after missing the fairway at the 10th to remain 9 under, he was four strokes behind after Cink's 10-foot birdie putt there.
"I let it get away from me in the middle of the round today," said Love, who had four sub-70 rounds. "I'm getting tired of playing good golf but not playing great for four days. It's frustrating."