Phil Mickelson Wins the Shell Houston Open
Phil Mickelson made 18 birdies during his final two rounds of the Shell Houston Open to earn his first PGA TOUR victory of the 2011 season. On Saturday, Mickelson was bogey free on his was to a 9-under 63 and followed it up on Sunday with an impressive 7-under 65 to earn a three stroke victory.
Mickelson struggled in the first two rounds but his course record 63 propelled him into the lead and he never looked back. His tournament total 20-under was good enough to hold off Chris Kirk and Scott Verplank who finished tied for second at 17-under. Kirk was playing in just his 19th PGA TOUR event while the veteran Verplank was looking for his first PGA TOUR win since 2007.
Mickelson's win is the 39th of his career and earned him $1,062,000 along with 500 FedEx Cup points. He's now in second place the FedEx Cup Standings and the win moved him into 3rd place in the Official World Golf Rankings. Mickelson is now the highest ranked American in the world and marks the first time he has been ranked higher than Tiger Woods since 1997 when Woods won the Masters for his first major championship. Woods has dropped to 7th in the rankings.
Can Mickelson Win Back to Back Weeks?
As the PGA TOUR moves to the famed Augusta National, Mickelson will look for his 40th career victory next week at The Masters. He has won the event three times and is the current defending champion. Only four players have won the Masters after winning the previous week. Mickelson accomplished this feat in 2006 when he won the BellSouth Classic the week before capturing his second green jacket.
If Mickelson can successfully defend his title he will be the first back to back winner of The Masters since Tiger Woods completed the double in 2001 and 2002.