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Phil Mickelson finishes off flirtatious Phoenix Open victory

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Phil Mickelson completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Phoenix Open on Sunday, again flirting with history in a dominating run at TPC Scottsdale.

Mickelson shot a 4-under 67 to finish at 28-under 256, two strokes off the PGA Tour record of 254 set by Tommy Armour III in the 2003 Texas Open.

“It's an important one for me, because it's been a while since I won, been a while since I've been in contention,” Mickelson said. “I was certainly nervous heading into today. The thing I'm most excited about was the way I was able to regain control of my thoughts after a few shots early on that I didn't care for.”

Mickelson missed a chance for a 59 in the first round when his 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole circled the cup and stayed out. He settled for a 60 and followed with rounds of 65 and 64 to take a six-stroke lead into the final round.

Mickelson won after struggling the previous two weeks in his season-opening events — tying for 37th at La Quinta and 51st at Torrey Pines — and creating some headlines by complaining about tax increases. He now heads to Pebble Beach for his title defense.

“That sets up the tone for the rest of the year, because I really started to play well,” Mickelson said. “The rest of the year took a turn on Tuesday when I got my new driver. It just changed my whole deal.”

Brandt Snedeker finished second, four strokes back after a 65.

Mickelson took a three-stroke lead to the 17th tee, and nearly drove into the left-side water on the drivable par 4, his ball stopping a yard short of the hazard. He hit his 25-yard second shot 15 feet past the hole and made the birdie putt.

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Phil Mickelson poses for photographers with the championship trophy after winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona on Sunday, Feb. 3. (AP)

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