Mickelson closes out Pebble Beach Pro-Am victory

A member of the ground staff clears hail form the first green

But after coming from three strokes behind Paul Casey, carding a faultless, seven-under 65 to capture his fifth AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am title by three shots, the left-hander sounded a word of warning to Rory McIlroy and the rest of golf's young guns.

Mickelson will return to play the last two holes on Monday holding a three-shot lead over playing partner Paul Casey.

"It means a lot to me to play the final round as focused and as well as I did", said Mickelson, who started the final round three strokes behind Casey.

Casey made a decision to stop ahead of his putt on 16 on Sunday, even as Mickelson pushed to start the par-3 17th hole.

That was in 1998, when rain soaked the Monterey Peninsula in February, and the PGA Tour made a decision to play the third round the day after the PGA Championship ended up the Pacific coast at Sahalee.

When they did tee off Monday morning in cold conditions at 17, Mickelson and Casey each drove the ball about eight feet from the cup, missed a birdie putt and tapped in for par.

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Play has just resumed at the final round of the US PGA Tour's Pebble Beach Pro Am after being suspended for just over two hours due to a hail storm. "I just get in my own little bubble and I don't see the big picture".

Mickelson claimed his 44th US PGA Tour title and has also won three European Tour titles, the 2004 Grand Slam of Golf and 2004 Skins Game, and a 1993 Challenge Tour event in Paris. Casey at least birdied the 18th for a 71 to finish alone in second, the difference of $152,000.

Asked in a greenside interview what the performance did for his confidence, Mickelson said: "Absolutely nothing, because it's nothing like the course we'll see".

In fact both players finished par-par enabling Mickelson to not only level Mark O'Meara's handful of AT&T wins but join Tiger Woods on 14 victories celebrated in California country.

After a rain-delayed start, Mickelson had produced a blemish-free round and holed six birdies to move to 18 under before play was called off.

The Portrush man turns 39 in July and while he lost his PGA Tour card previous year and must rely in invitations to fill out his schedule, he wants desperately to be at Royal Portrush for The Open. "I hit some good golf shots and didn't get anything out of it today", Casey said. Scott Piercy had a 15-foot putt that was slightly uphill, and he still ran it 7 feet by the hole and three-putted for bogey.

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