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Mickelson ends five-year drought with playoff win

Phil Mickelson plays his shot from the seventh tee during the final round of the WGC - Mexico Championship golf tournament at Club de Golf Chapultepec on Sunday, March 4, in Mexico City. Orlando Ramirez / USA TODAY Sports

MEXICO CITY— Phil Mickelson survived a playoff showdown Sunday, March 4, against the hottest player of the weekend at the World Golf Championship-Mexico Championship in Mexico City to grab his first win in over four years.

Mickelson shot par on the first playoff hole to defeat Justin Thomas, whose eagle on 18 gave him the clubhouse lead at 16 under and tied a PGA Tour record for final 36-hole score in relation to par (also 16 under). Stuart Appleby set the record at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic.

Thomas shot a 7-under 64 on Sunday and a 9-under 62 the day before after rounds of 72 and 70 to open the tournament.

But Mickelson birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to tie Thomas, then followed with pars on Nos. 17 and 18 to force the playoff.

For Mickelson, who shot a 5-under 66 in the final round, it was his first victory since winning the 2013 British Open.

"I don't know what to say. It's been a tough go the last four years, not playing my best, but to have the belief that I was going to get there and finally break through and do it feels incredible. I believe that more is to come," a relieved Mickelson said.

"I try to look calm on the outside, but on the inside I'm shaking and I enjoy that; that's what was so fun, and that nervousness starting the round, before the round and all the preparation, all those nerves that you feel, I haven't felt that in a long time because I haven't been in the last group in a long time, and so it's been really fun."

England's Tyrrell Hatton finished in a career-best tie for third at 15 under.

Dustin Johnson and Spaniard Sergio Garcia finished tied for seventh at 12 under, while Bubba Watson headlined a trio tied for ninth at 10 under.

Shubhankar Sharma, a 21-year-old from India, was atop the leaderboard to start the day, but shot 3-over 74 to put him at 10 under for the tournament and in the group tied for ninth.