Desert Classic: Adam Long beats Phil Mickelson in dramatic style

Adam Long celebrates his victory
Adam Long celebrates his victory

Adam Long sunk a 13-foot birdie putt to pip fellow American Phil Mickelson to the Desert Classic title in California.

Leaderboard

-26 Adam Long (SC)

-25 Phil Mickelson (SC), Adam Hadwin (SC)

-24 Talor Gooch (SC)

-22 Dominic Bozzelli (SC)

-21 Jon Rahm (SC)

  • Letters in parentheses denote course - Nicklaus Tournament (NT), Stadium Course (SC), La Quinta (LQ)

Final round report

Adam Long sunk a 13-foot birdie putt to pip fellow American Phil Mickelson to the Desert Classic title in California.

Mickelson was two ahead of the chasing pack going into the final day at La Quinta, but a clean round of 65 was enough for Long to take the honours.

The rookie set out his intention early with two birdies on the first two holes as he reached the turn on three under.

Two further birdies on the 14th and 15th pushed Long into contention with the putt on the 18th sealing the deal by a single stroke.

Mickelson finished 25 under for the tournament and carded a 69 on the final day to share second spot with Canadian Adam Hadwin, whose dropped shot on the par-3 13th proved costly.

Talor Gooch carded the best score of the day with a 64 bringing him up three places to finish fourth.

Scot Russell Knox went around on 69 to finish on 16 under and tied for 18th, while England's Justin Rose fell five places to tied 34th with a round of 70.

Third round report

Phil Mickelson fired a bogey-free 66 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Desert Classic.

The 48-year-old struck six birdies on the Stadium Course at PGA West - one of three courses used in the event - to retain his overnight advantage and stay ahead of nearest challenger Adam Hadwin.

Hadwin posted a blemish-free 65 on the Nicklaus Course, while Adam Long is a further shot back in third after a round-of-the-day 63 at La Quinta Country Club.

"I gave myself a lot of chances," Mickelson said. "I missed a few short putts that I've been making for a while, but I also made a couple of long ones."

Mickelson opened with five straight pars before chipping in from off the sixth green and following a 10-foot gain at the next with a 20-foot birdie at the par-five eighth to reach the turn in 33.

The 43-time PGA Tour winner drained a 35-footer at the par-three 13th for the first of back-to-back birdies to reclaim top spot, before adding another from 25 feet on his penultimate hole.

Steve Marino holds fourth spot ahead of Patrick Cantlay and Michael Thompson, while defending champion Jon Rahm lies six strokes off the pace in a share of seventh.

Second round report

Phil Mickelson held on to the lead in California with a 68 on day two of the Desert Classic.

The American enjoyed a level-career best 60 at La Quinta Country Club on day one that saw him three shots ahead as play got under way at the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Friday.

He remained two shots ahead by the close of proceedings - Australian challenger Curtis Luck rising into second with a round of 66 at the Nicklaus.

A shot behind the Aussie was Canadian Adam Hadwin and American Steve Marino, both playing at La Quinta, who are tied for third.

Form remained relatively strong for Mickelson for the second day of his first outing of 2019, the three-time Masters champion hitting 14 greens.

Mickelson set off down the back nine with birdies on the eleventh and twelfth before a bit of bad luck on the 18th saw him end up in the water and card a double-bogey.

The 2013 Open Winner put the mishap behind him and parred the next four before a home-straight bust saw him fire off four birdies on the last five holes.

England's Justin Rose was also on the Nicklaus on Friday and also carded a 68, lifting him up the leaderboard into an 18-strong pack tied for 28th.

Scotsman Russell Knox put in a much improved performance on his first-round 73 with a 66 at La Quinta to rocket 56 places up the leaderboard - albeit to tie for 72nd.

The Desert Classic is a pro-am tournament with 72 holes played over three courses; the Nicklaus, La Quinta and the Stadium Course at PGA West.

First round report

Phil Mickelson fired a career best-equalling 60 to take the early lead as he made his 2019 debut at the Desert Classic in California.

The five-time major champion carded 10 birdies and an eagle during a blemish-free day on the par-72 course at La Quinta.

Mickelson had twice shot 60 earlier in his career, but this was his best ever score in relation to par and so nearly saw him join the group of golfers who have broken 60 on the PGA Tour.

In a video posted on the PGA Tour's Twitter page, Mickelson said after his round: "I really didn't think this was going to be a day when I would go low. I came in with very low expectations.

"I haven't had a lot of time to practise and prepare. I felt like all areas were OK, but you never really know until you get out and play and compete.

"The good thing was I made a couple of bad swings and I got away with them."

The tournament is held over three courses - La Quinta, the Nicklaus Tournament Course and PGA West's Stadium Course.

Mickelson's closest challenger, compatriot Adam Long, is three shots off the pace after carding a nine-under 63 on the Nicklaus Course.

Adam Hadwin, who shot 59 in this tournament two years ago, carded the round of the day at the Stadium Course, which acts as host and is the toughest of the three.

Englishman Justin Rose, the world number one, finished tied for 31st on four-under after an opening round 68 at La Quinta, while Scot Martin Laird sits in joint fourth on seven-under after mixing two bogeys and nine birdies for a round of 65 at Nicklaus.

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