PHOENIX — Phil Mickelson made his return to tournament golf in Arizona a memorable one. Bernhard Langer added another chapter to the history books. Jim Furyk kept things interesting right till the end. It all made for an eventful finish to the PGA Tour Champions season.
Playing in his sixth Champions event, Mickelson won for the fourth time after shooting a final-round 65 at Phoenix Country Club to claim the Charles Schwab Cup Championship for the first time.
Mickelson went bogey-free Sunday with birdies on Nos. 1, 7, 11, 15 and 16 before making a clutch par putt on No. 17. Mickelson closed his round with a birdie on the par-5 finishing hole to get to 19 under, completing his rally from a three-shot deficit to win the tournament. He won by a shot over Steven Alker, who birdied the 18th to finish 18 under. It’s Alker’s 10th top-10 finish in 11 tries since he turned 50 and joined the senior tour.
Meanwhile, by virtue of his final-round 69 and solo 17th-place finish, Langer clinched the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points race for a record sixth time. Langer came into the week leading the points, fell behind to Jim Furyk after the second and third rounds but reclaimed the top spot Sunday. Langer competed in all 39 events during the Champions tour’s “super” season, which combined the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.
Furyk shot 65-67-65 in the first three rounds and was looking to cap the week with a couple of firsts. He would’ve been the first Champions tour rookie to win the Schwab Cup points title. He also was attempting to become the first golfer to win the season-long title on the senior circuit after winning the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup, which he did in 2010.
On 18, Furyk stood on the tee box needing an eagle on the par-5 closing hole to get to 18 under and finish solo second. That would’ve been enough to surpass Langer to claim the points race but after driving it in the fairway, Furyk pulled his second into the grandstands down the left side of the fairway.
With Mickelson signing autographs for fans and Langer watching the Golf Channel coverage in the clubhouse, Furyk needed to hole his third shot for eagle to win it but he blasted it well past the hole and watched it nestle in the thick rough off the green. He got up and down for par for a 71 to finish in a tie for fifth with Brandt Jobe.
Darren Clarke made a run up the leaderboard Sunday, closing his round with a birdie on 18 for a 64 to briefly take the clubhouse lead at 17 under. A year ago, after winning the TimberTech Championship, he faced visa issues which kept him from traveling to Phoenix to the Schwab Cup. Clarke finished tied for third with David Toms, who closed with a 65.
Paul Goydos had the round of the day, making a birdie on the last to shoot a 8-under 63 to finish 15 under for the week. The 63 also matches the low round of the week, also shot by Langer on Saturday.
Mickelson will deposit $440,000 into his bank account for the win. Langer claims a $1 million prize to be paid out in an annuity for winning the points.
The 2022 PGA Tour Champions season tees off with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii, Jan. 20-22. The 2022 Charles Schwab Cup Championship will once again be in Phoenix, Nov. 10-13, at Phoenix Country Club.
The combo season also marked the 20th anniversary of the Schwab Cup.