Mickelson wins at Phoenix
Phil Mickelson fired a four-under-par 67 on Sunday to complete a wire-to-wire victory in the US$6.2 million US PGA Phoenix Open, capturing his 41st career title by four strokes. It was the first time a player led every round alone on the way to a tour title since Rory McIlroy’s breakthrough major triumph at the 2011 US Open. “I played really good golf,” Mickelson said. “This is how I’ve been playing for a while and it feels really good to get that golf out of me when I’m at a big tournament.” Together with a dominant victory a week ago by Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines, Mickelson’s triumph showed that two of the game’s most popular stars are in top early-season form with the year’s first major tournament looming in April at the Masters. The 42-year-old left-hander, a three-time Masters champion, won for the first time since last year’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Gallacher takes EU Tour
Briton Stephen Gallacher ended his nine-year wait for a second European Tour title in stunning fashion with a three-shot victory at the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday. Gallacher holed his approach to the par-four 16th in the final round for his fifth eagle of the week to shake off the persistent challenge of South African Richard Sterne. “I’m obviously delighted,” Gallacher said after carding one-under-par 71 in the final round. “It’s taken a long time, but it’s sweeter now,” added the Scot, whose only previous European Tour title in 404 starts came in 2004 at St Andrews. Chilean Felipe Aguilar and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen tied for third place and England’s Lee Westwood was joint fourth with Australian Marcus Fraser after hitting his second shot into the water on the par-five final hole.
Second WTA title for Barthel
Germany’s Mona Barthel clinched her second WTA title by beating top seed Sara Errani 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) in a hard-fought final at the Paris Open on Sunday. The 22-year-old Barthel, ranked 45, battled for one hour and 56 minutes before sealing the victory with her 53rd winner of the day on her fourth match point. World No. 7 Errani, bidding for her seventh singles title, suffered a second disappointment in Paris after losing to Maria Sharapova in last year’s French Open final. Barthel seemed to be cruising to victory when she broke her opponent’s serve to lead 2-0 in the second set. She held on to lead 5-2, but the resilient Errani fought back by taking advantage of the German’s nervousness, only to surrender in the decisive tiebreak. “It was a bit complicated to wrap it up, but it was my first final in as big an event. I was feeling the tension,” Barthel, who won her first title in Hobart last season, told reporters.
BMC team win Qatar stage
US racer Brent Bookwalter of the BMC team won Sunday’s opening stage of the Tour of Qatar, seeing off Swiss rivals Martin Elmiger (IAM) and Gregory Rast (RadioShack) in a sprint finish in tricky, windy conditions. The 28-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, edged home for his first professional win after a 145km ride from Katara to Dukhan Beach which saw the riders dogged by Shamal, a strong northerly wind which provided an additional challenge. British star Mark Cavendish was sixth after the wind threw him off his rhythm in the early stages, while favored French FDJ sprinter Nacer Bouhanni saw his chances take a knock following two punctures that left him 15 minutes adrift.