Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

In Pictures: Mickelson takes third green jacket with Masters win

Phil Mickelson pounced for a third Masters victory in seven years to leave Lee Westwood a nearly man once again.

Champion at Augusta in 2004 and 2006 and with a US PGA title in between, Mickelson put a dreadful start to the season behind him to win by three shots from the Englishman - with a 15 under par total of 273.

Westwood, unable to hold onto the last day lead, already had third place finishes in the US Open, Open and US PGA, but now he has come third, third and second in the last three majors.

A one under 71 was never likely to complete the job and, sure enough, Mickelson shot 67 - and then went into one of the longest televised hugs with wife Amy.

And no wonder. Last May she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her battle goes on. This was her first visit to a tournament since the diagnosis last May.

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

With a pink breast cancer badge in his cap to remind people of the battles both his wife and mother have been fighting, Mickelson captured his fourth major in scintillating fashion.

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

First there was his 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 today.

One ahead of KJ 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 there, but although he missed the putt Choi bogeyed the 14th as well.

Westwood, though, 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, with third place finishes to his name in the US Open, Open and US PGA, could not match Mickelson's two-putt birdie at the long 15th.

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