Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mickelson Lays Major Bogey

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mickelson Lays Major Bogey

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mark Garrod,

With an 18-foot birdie putt on the last green and a leap into the air almost as high, Phil Mickelson yesterday rid himself of the tag as "best player never to win a major".

Mickelson, who has had to live with 17 top-10 finishes in the majors without a victory, captured the Masters at Augusta by a stroke from Ernie Els in as thrilling a fashion as the tournament has produced.

The moment seemed to bypass BBC TV commentator Peter Allis who greeted Mickelson's winning putt on air with the immortal words "it's not over yet" ( before correcting his error.

But there was no chance of anything being lost on Mickelson who before even signing his card grabbed his daughter and said with a huge smile on his face: "Daddy won. Can you believe it?"

It was his 47th major and he had won after finishing third in the last three Masters. He came home in 31 for a 69 and nine-under-par total of 279.

The second successive victory by a left-hander ( Mike Weir captured the title last year - means that for the first time since the Open was first played in 1860 six majors in a row have been won by players who had never previously won one.

That run started with Rich Beem at the 2002 US PGA and last season saw Weir, Jim Furyk, Ben Curtis and Shaun Micheel follow.

Mickelson, who all week looked more at ease with the situation than ever before, was three behind Els with seven holes to play, Els having eagled both the eighth and 13th.

It looked as though the South African was about to add a green jacket to his two US Opens and one Open and therefore be just a US PGA away from the career Grand Slam he so craved.

But Mickelson birdied the 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and then, when he had to avoid a play-off, the 18th as well ( his putt helped by the fact that seconds earlier playing partner Chris DiMarco missed from the very same line.

South Korean KJ Choi was third two further back, while England's Paul Casey and Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer, joint third with a round to go, shot 74 and 72 respectively. …

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