Monday, February 12, 2001

Lickliter loses Buick playoff to Mickelson

The Associated Press

        SAN DIEGO — Frank Lickiliter was close to tears. The Middletown native, on the verge of his first PGA victory, ended up a shocking loser in the Buick Invitational Sunday with a three-putt from 12 feet on the third playoff hole.

        “I'm in shock right now,” Lickliter said, his voice cracking. “Other than getting a little stupid, I felt I played pretty good. It's tough to swallow.”

        “An awkward playoff,” said winner Phil Mickelson, who double-bogeyed the final playoff hole. He has won 18 times on the PGA Tour, but never in quite as bizarre fashion.

        Trying to win for the first time in 158 starts on the PGA Tour, Lickliter followed Mickelson into a canyon with his tee shot on the 17th, was on the threshold of victory with a wedge into 12 feet, then walked off in silence after his three-putt for triple bogey.

        Mickelson suffered from food poisoning all week. He finally felt better Sunday, but his stomach was still churning.

        “It was not a normal week,” Mickelson said. “I'll take it. Winning feels great, and it doesn't matter how.”

        Davis Love III was eliminated from the playoff on the second sudden-death hole when he failed to save par from a plugged lie in the bunker on No. 16.

        His final words as he left the course were, “It looks like a disaster out there.”


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