Phil Mickelson has won his second Masters, ultimately running away from a tight field stacked with the top names in golf.
Phil Mickelson is a Masters champion again, and now he’s making it look easy. Once known as a lovable loser who went a dozen years and 42 majors before figuring out how to win golf’s biggest events, Mickelson captured his second straight major Sunday at Augusta National without needing a nail-biting finish. He closed with a 3-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Tim Clark, and his second green jacket in three years.
The only surprise was the way he won. There were no thrills for Phil, rather calculated shots that forced Fred Couples, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh to try to catch him. Instead, they stumbled along with three-putts and a litany of other mistakes that allowed Mickelson to stroll up the 18th fairway with no worries.
He won his first major at Augusta two years ago with an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole. He added the PGA Championship last year at Baltusrol with a flop shot to 2 feet for another decisive birdie on the final hole. His only bogey on a breezy afternoon at Augusta National came when it no longer mattered. He missed the 18th green to the left, chipped to 20 feet and settled for two putts.
He didn’t leap with arms thrust into the air, as he did two years ago. Mickelson simply smiled and walked off the green and into the arms of his wife and children. He finished at 7-under-par 281 and earned $1.26 million, putting him atop the PGA Tour money list. The victory also moved him up to No. 2 in the world ranking behind Woods.
Mickelson emerged as a major threat to Woods’ pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 victories in Grand Slam events. This was the third straight year Mickelson has won a major — Woods is the only other player to have done that in the last 20 years. Only five others have won majors in three straight seasons since the Masters began in 1934.
Now that the monkey is off his back, Mickelson is winning championships at the rate everyone expected after a brilliant amateur career. Indeed, were there no Tiger Woods, Mickelson would easily have won numerous other majors and be considered by far the best player in the world.
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