Mickelson wins third Masters title

April 12, 2010


Augusta, GA – Phil Mickelson fired a five-under 67 on Sunday to come from behind and win his third Masters title.

Mickelson finished at 16-under 272 and won by three strokes over third-round leader Lee Westwood (71).

This was Mickelson’s fourth major title and first since his victory at Augusta National in 2006. He won the Masters in 2004 and the PGA Championship in 2005.

Mickelson hit some amazing shots on the back nine and did so in true Mickelson fashion.

He sprayed his driver all over Augusta National on Sunday, but recovered with some remarkable shots, especially at both back-nine par fives, to don the green jacket once again.

“This has been a special day,” said Mickelson. “It’s something I’ll always cherish.”

Anthony Kim fired a seven-under 65 to vault into third place at 12-under 276.

Tiger Woods’ return to golf was fairly successful. He shot a three-under 69 on Sunday and tied for fourth place with K.J. Choi, who also had a 69, at minus-11.

Woods was playing for the first time in five months, sidetracked by a sex scandal that broke out last fall. Despite the long absence and his strong finish, Woods, a four-time Masters champion, wasn’t all smiles.

“I entered this event and I only enter events to win and I didn’t get it done,” said Woods. “I didn’t hit the ball good enough and I made too many mistakes around the greens, consequently I’m not there.”

Woods did put his name in the Masters record book once again. He made two eagles on Sunday, one with a hole-out from the fairway at seven and the other traditionally with a putt at the par-five 15th. It gave him a total of four eagles for the championship, tying the Masters record for one tournament.

Fifty-year-old Fred Couples posted a two-under 70 on Sunday and took sixth place at nine-under 279.

But this Sunday at Augusta belonged not just to Mickelson, but to his family as well.

Last year, Mickelson’s wife Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not long after, his mother Mary was also diagnosed with breast cancer and this week was the first time since last year’s Players Championship, that the Mickelson family traveled with Phil.

After he made a seven-footer for birdie at the last to punctuate the victory, Mickelson walked off the green, and with tears in his eyes, embraced his wife.

“She’s an incredible wife and an incredible mother,” Mickelson said at the green jacket ceremony. “She’s been an inspiration for me this year. I’m so glad she and my three kids are here.

“To cap it off with this victory, I can’t put it into words, but it’s something we’ll share and remember the rest of our lives.”

Mickelson’s third green jacket tied him with Sam Snead, Gary Player, Nick Faldo and Jimmy Demaret. Only Jack Nicklaus (six) and Arnold Palmer and Woods (four) have more.

Despite a three-stroke margin of victory, this wasn’t an easy championship for Mickelson to win.

He was only one-under par through the first 11 holes of the final round, but was tied for the lead when he walked to the par-three 12th tee.

Last year, Mickelson’s amazing comeback was crushed when he dunked one in the water. Twelve months later, Mickelson hit a nine-iron to 15 feet, which was the same spot he hit it en route to victory in 2004. Just as six years ago, Mickelson sank the birdie putt to move one clear of Westwood.

“I knew that putt,” said Mickelson, who collected his 38th PGA Tour win.

Mickelson hit an errant drive into the pine straw at the par-five 13th. He was behind two trees, but hit his second through the them and to four feet. Mickelson actually missed the eagle try, but converted his birdie putt to move to 14-under and two clear of Westwood and the surging Kim.

Mickelson hit a good drive at 15 and knocked his second to 15 feet. He missed the eagle effort, but tapped in for birdie and was three ahead with three to go.

Westwood made it interesting with a birdie at 17, but Mickelson hit a beautiful approach to seven feet at the last. He ran home the birdie for the three-shot victory.

“There were a lot of fireworks going on ahead of us, and when we get to the birdie holes we had to do something,” said Mickelson. “I needed to make birdies.”

Now Mickelson will be in position for the single-season Grand Slam heading to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He has won the PGA Tour’s yearly stop there three times.

For Westwood, this was another strong finish at a major, although the first one still eludes the Englishman. He tied for third at last year’s British Open and PGA Championship and finished third the year before at the U.S. Open.

“I think I just need to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Westwood. “One of these days the door is going to open for me. I keep knocking.”

Nick Watney fired a seven-under 65 on Sunday and took seventh at eight-under 280. Reigning PGA Champion Y.E. Yang (70) and Hunter Mahan (71) shared eighth at minus-seven.

Second-round co-leader Ian Poulter and Ricky Barnes both had 73s on Sunday and tied for 10th at five-under 283.

Sixty-year-old Tom Watson, who nearly won last year’s British Open, finished with a one-over 73 on Sunday, but broke par for the week. He came in at one- under 287.

NOTES: Defending champion Angel Cabrera shot a one-under 71 and tied for 18th at one-under par…The top 16 players and ties get invited back next year and Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jerry Kelly, Ryan Moore, David Toms and Steve Marino finished inside the number…Trevor Immelman did as well, but as past champion will be invited back no matter what.

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