NORTON, Mass. (AP) -- Phil Mickelson is back on his game, and it was good enough to take down Tiger Woods.
Going head-to-head with Woods for the first time in 18 months, Mickelson buried the world's No. 1 player on the front nine and held him off down the stretch Monday to close with a 5-under 66 and win the Deutsche Bank Championship by two shots.
It was the first victory for Mickelson since The Players Championship in May, when he looked ready to make another run at Woods. But then came a wrist injury that cost him his summer, and only recently has Mickelson been able to swing without flinching.
The pain on this Labor Day belonged to Woods.
He couldn't make a putt on the front nine, and couldn't make enough when he was trying to make up ground. Woods had four putts for eagle on the TPC Boston, and picked up only three shots. He wound up with a 67 and tied for second with Arron Oberholser (69) and Brett Wetterich (70), who were afterthoughts while playing in the final group.
The buzz outside Beantown was clearly on the two biggest names in golf, and Mickelson relished this victory.
"For 10 years I've struggled against Tiger," Mickelson said. "This sure feels great to go head-to-head ... and over the last five or six holes when he's making a run, it was fun to match him with birdies."
Mickelson finished at 16-under 268 and earned $1.26 million, moving him atop the standings in the PGA Tour Playoffs.
But after dispatching of Woods, Mickelson picked his next battle with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. He said he might not play next week outside Chicago at the BMW Championship, saying he owed it to the tour but that Finchem had not fulfilled some requests that Mickelson has made. He did not elaborate.