Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mickelson claims third career Masters championship

Phil Mickelson looked poised from the moment he teed off from the first hole during final round play of The Masters. He rode that poise to a first-place finish and claimed his third career green jacket. Mickelson finished -16 for the tournament following a final round score of 67.

K.J. Choi and Fred Couples also looked comfortable early on hanging near the top of the leader board. Lee Westwood, who led after 54 holes, and Tiger Woods did look great right off the bat, but battled to stay among the leaders.

Woods’ first tee shot sailed to the right, behind the gallery, as he dropped his club to the ground. Woods did have two eagles in his final round, but finished with a 69 on the day and -11 for the tournament.

“I finished fourth. It’s not what I wanted. I wanted to win the tournament,” Woods summarized during an interview with CBS. “I didn’t hit the ball good enough.”

Anthony Kim had a tremendous final day of play finishing -7 for the round and -12 for the tournament. Kim was on a hot-streak during holes 13 through 16. He birdied 13 and 14, eagled 15 and birdied 16. Kim also had birdies on holes 2, 7 and 8 while recording just one bogey on hole 6.

His performance was good enough for third place. Kim won the Shell Houston Open last week, and is currently one of the hottest golfers on the tour.

Westwood hit a crucial birdie on 17 to stay within two strokes of Mickelson, and kept the pressure on. He shot rounds of 67, 69, 68 and 71.

The story of the day comes back to Mickelson, though. The golfer had a great shot out of the rough on 13. He thread the needle between two trees from 205 yards out and landed the ball within four feet of the cup. He missed his eagle opportunity, but tapped in for birdie and did not look back.

Mickelson’s game was sound all around, but his driving average of 297.12 yards set up many quality chip-shots and layups. He did not record a bogey during the final round of play.

Mickelson’s tee shot on 18 all but locked up the tournament. He sank his birdie putt and won the tourney. The left-hander’s winning performance included rounds of 67, 71, 67 and 67.

Mickelson won his third Masters tournament. He also won in 2004 and 2006. He joined a distinguished list of golfers with three or more Masters championships. Sam Snead, Jimmy Demaret, Nick Faldo and Gary Player have also won three titles. Woods and Arnold Palmer have won four times. Jack Nicklaus has won the most Masters titles with six.

“It feels incredible,” Mickelson said during an interview with CBS. “To win this tournament is the most amazing feeling.”

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