Mickelson beats Thomas in playoff for WGC-Mexico Championship

Mickelson claimed his first win since the 2013 Open Championship

Phil Mickelson wins WGC-Mexico Championship
Phil Mickelson wins WGC-Mexico Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson beat Justin Thomas on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff for the WGC-Mexico Championship to claim his first victory since the Open Championship of 2013.

Phil Mickelson pipped Justin Thomas on the first extra hole to win the WGC-Mexico Championship at Chapultepec GC. When both players had finished 72-holes on 16-under, they headed to the par-3 17th to settle the event in sudden-death.

Thomas fired through the green and was unable to get up-and-down. Mickelson made his three and, at 47, became the oldest ever winner of a World Golf Championship.

Mickelson won for the first time since the 2013 Open

Mickelson won for the first time since the 2013 Open

“I can't put into words how much this means to me, its been a long time,” he said. “To come here to Mexico City with the fans here and play against the best players in the world and finally come through... I knew it was going to come soon, I was playing too well for it not to but you never know until it happens.”

“My game is starting to get to a level that is some of my best golf and it seems like it's just in time. It's nice to be in that small circle called the winner's circle; I haven't been in it for a while.” It was a 43rd PGA Tour title for Mickelson but his first since The Open Championship of 2013. Mickelson’s first victory on the circuit came more than 27 years ago.

The playoff at Chapultepec followed a dramatic conclusion to regulation play. The on-form Justin Thomas, coming off the back of a win in The Honda Championship was 11 shots off the lead, held by Shubhankar Sharma through 36 holes. But he moved back into contention with a 62 in round three.

Thomas made six birdies in his first 15 holes on Sunday to move into the lead but looked to have lost his chance with a bogey on the 17th. The 24-year-old was not done, however. On the par-4 18th, he spun his second shot back into the hole for an incredible eagle two.

Justin Thomas holed out for eagle on the last

Justin Thomas holed out for eagle on the last

That set a clubhouse target of 268 and only Mickelson could match it.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton might have got in at 16-under, as he was tied for the lead with one to play. But he dropped a shot on the home hole and finished one back along with Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Justin Thomas may have gone on to narrowly lose out in the playoff but he can console himself with the fact his second place finish has seen him climb to second place on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Overnight leader Shubhankar Sharma of India had a disappointing final round of 74 and dropped back into a tie for ninth. Still, he continues to lead the Race to Dubai standings.

WGC-Mexico Championship Chapultepec GC, Mexico City, Mexico Mar 1-4 Purse: $10,500,000 Par: 71

1 Phil Mickelson (USA) 69 68 65 66 268 €1,392,415 2 Justin Thomas (USA) 72 70 62 64 268 €878,041 T3 Rafa Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 66 67 69 67 269 €418,134 T3 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 70 68 64 67 269 €418,134 T5 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 66 69 71 65 271 €270,702 T5 Brian Harman (USA) 68 67 68 68 271 €270,702 T7 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 68 65 69 70 272 €196,372 T7 Dustin Johnson (USA) 69 66 68 69 272 €196,372 T9 Adam Hadwin (Can) 70 71 67 66 274 €149,070 T9 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 65 66 69 74 274 €149,070 T9 Bubba Watson (USA) 69 66 72 67 274 €149,070

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?