Mickelson overcomes health scare for Doral victory

Phil Mickelson reminded everyone that there is more to a World Golf Championship tournament than a Tiger Woods comeback story.

After being treated for exhaustion and dehydration overnight, Lefty returned to the Doral Resort course for the fourth round in a battling mood and ruggedly went about ensuring his first CA Championship and maiden WGC title.

Mickelson slotted home a routine putt on the final hole to score three-under-par 69 on the last day for a total of 19-under 269 and a one-stroke victory over Nick Watney, who closed with 70.

Watney fell inches short of a bogey putt that would have taken the proceedings into a play-off but in the end, after the lead changed hands seven times, Mickelson was a deserving winner as he triumphed over a stellar field.

Jim Furyk scored 67 for his total of 272 and third place while Indian player Jeev Milkha Singh fired 70 for a total of 274 and fourth place.

Woods, playing in his second tournament – and first stroke play event – after undergoing knee surgery last year, was hot over the final two days with back-to-back 68s, giving him a total of 11-under 277 and a share of ninth place with Australian Rod Pampling and American Kenny Perry.

But the day belonged to Mickelson, whose victory sent him into second place in the FedEx Series and his emergence in mid-March allows one more candidate to come into the picture as the first major of the season, the US Masters, approaches in April.

He admitted afterwards that it had been a physically draining effort for him. He ate little over the last three days and spent some time on Saturday night in the hospital receiving treatment for dehydration.

The tournament is on the schedule of both the US PGA Tour and the European Tour. In America, there are three events left before the Masters, starting with this week’s Transitions Champions in Palm Harbor, Florida. The Europeans head off to Portugal.

Meanwhile, the buzz in Doral centred around Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlory, the 19-year-old tipped by many for great things.

Now, even Woods has joined the chorus, saying McIlory could one day become world number one. He said in an agency article:

“The guy’s a talent. We can all see it, the way he hits the golf ball, the way he putts, the way he can chip, get up and down. It’s just a matter of time and experience in big events. That takes time and I mean he’s only 19. He has the composure. He has all of the components to be the best in the world, there’s no doubt.”

McIlroy made his European Tour breakthrough when he won the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year. At one stage he was only a single shot off the lead at the Doral tournament but an indifferent final round left him out of the top 10.

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