Mickelson masters Augusta once again

4/11/2010 11:53:44 PM
Angel Cabrera helps Phil Mickelson into his Green Jacket  (Getty Images)
Angel Cabrera helps Phil Mickelson into his Green Jacket (Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson claimed his third Masters Tournament title following a composed final round performance, with Lee Westwood finishing in second place.

Mickelson - who triumphed at Augusta National in 2004 and 2006 - carded a bogey-free 67 to finish on 16 under, three clear of England’s Westwood, who struggled to repeat the stunning form he showed over the first three days of the tournament.

Anthony Kim was third on 12 under after equalling the lowest round of the week with a dazzling 65, while Tiger Woods finished a shot further back alongside playing partner KJ Choi.

Although Woods equalled a Masters record with four eagles in his first tournament back for almost five months - two of them came in his rollercoaster closing 69 for joint fourth place - the headlines will go quite rightly to the left-hander.

It feels incredible,” Mickelson said. “I could go on and on, there’s so many reasons why, but to win this tournament it’s the most amazing feeling.

“I’ll look back on this day as very memorable. It’s something I’ll always cherish.”

It started as the week Woods came back to golf, but ended as the week when Mickelson proved again he is the world number one's biggest rival.

He wore a pink breast cancer badge in his cap to remind people of the battles both his wife and mother have been fighting and admitted afterwards that he was thrilled to come through a trying period in their lives.

“It’s been an emotional year and I’m very proud of my wife and the fight and struggle she’s been through,” Mickelson added.

“It’s been a difficult year and to come out on top in this tournament is very emotional. It feels terrific.

“It is one of the best things we’ve gone through.

“Last year we’ve been through a lot, it’s been tough and to be on the other end and feel this kind of jubilation is incredible.”

Two shots above all others will be replayed over and over when the story of this incredible week is retold.

First there was Mickelson’s eagle two on the 14th in the third round as he moved one behind Westwood entering the closing 18 holes.

But that was trumped by his second shot to the long 13th on Sunday.

One ahead of Choi after the Korean had just taken a bogey six there, Mickelson hit his drive through the fairway into the trees and onto the pine straw.

In front of him was a gap of no more than four feet between two trunks, but in the manner for which he has become known Mickelson decided to go for the 200-yard shot over Rae's Creek.

Spectacularly - even he showed that by raising his club in triumph and then punching the air - he hit it to four feet.

It warranted his third eagle of the week on the hole, but although he missed the putt Choi bogeyed the 14th as well.

Westwood matched Mickelson's birdie to stay two back and still had hopes of making his 50th attempt to win a Major the one when he finally broke through.

But the Worksop golfer could not match Mickelson's two-putt birdie at the long 15th and, although Westwood picked up another shot with a birdie at 17, he had to settle for second place.

“I am a little bit disappointed because I came so close to winning the tournament,” said Westwood. “But I didn’t get off to a fast enough start.

“If I could have got to a couple under par after five or six holes then it might have been a different story.

“But Phil hit some good shots around Amen Corner and they are not easy shots that he has pulled off there so he is a deserving winner.”

Mickelson added: “I needed to make birdies. There were a lot of fireworks going on ahead of us.

“For me the big key was (hole) 12 again, because just like in 2004 I hit the ball in the same spot, I knew that putt and I ended up making that and that gave me a little advantage heading into 13 and 15.

“Fortunately I was able to reach those in two and make birdies.”

Kim finished one behind Westwood following a stunning charge that saw him pick up five shots in four holes from the 13th.

Woods, meanwhile, had to settle for a share of fourth, following a closing round that veered from the sublime to the ridiculous.

KJ Choi followed a faultless three under par front nine with another birdie at ten to briefly move into a share of the lead, before falling away over the closing holes.

Fred Couples’ bid to become the oldest Masters champion also faltered on the back nine, the 50-year-old running up a double bogey five on the short 12th.

Fellow American Nick Watney made stunning progress on the final day and his 65 was enough to earn seventh spot.

Miguel Angel Jimenez ended the week in a tie for 12th following a final round of 66, while Ian Poulter was a shot further back on five under following a closing 73.

Sixteen year old amateur Matteo Manassero carded a 72 to finish on a creditable four over, while the crowd on the par three 16th were treated to hole in ones from Nathan Green and Ryan Moore.