GOLF: PHIL MICKELSON SEALS HIS 3rd MASTERS WIN IN AUGUSTA
[PHOTO AT LEFT - PHIL MICKELSON GOT HIS 3rd MASTERS GREEN JACKET]
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CYBERSPACE, APRIL 12, 2010 (BBC SPORTS NEWS) PICTURES COURTESY OF
THE BBC SPORTS NEWS ONLINE. NEWS REPORT BY Rob Hodgetts BBC Sport at Augusta - Phil Mickelson overhauled Lee Westwood to claim a third Masters Green Jacket after an enthralling final round at Augusta.
The 39-year-old produced some customary magic to pass third-round leader Westwood and dash the Englishman's hopes of winning his first major title.
Mickelson fired a final-round 67 to end 16 under, three shots clear of Westwood, and clinch a fourth major championship.
Westwood carded a one-under 71 but could not quite match the brilliance of the American and has now finished third, third and second in his last three majors.
[PHOTO AT LEFT - The moment Mickelson wins the Masters]
Anthony Kim shot a stunning 65 to finish strongly and third on his own at 12 under, with Tiger Woods - the four-time Masters champion - one stroke further back despite five months out following a sex scandal.
'Emotional' Mickelson accepts green jacket
South Korea's KJ Choi, who held the joint-lead with Mickelson early in the back nine, also ended 11 under to share fourth with Woods after a 69.
The 50-year-old Fred Couples, who was the champion in 1992, was a firm favourite with the Augusta crowd and came within two of the lead before ending sixth at nine under.
Mickelson, the 2004 and 2006 winner, was one shot adrift of Westwood at the beginning of the final round, but was one shot ahead after 12 holes. He then fired a stunning second shot from behind a tree into the 13th to set up an eagle chance. And though he missed, he made a birdie to maintain a two-shot lead over Westwood, who also birdied, before racing three ahead at the 15th.
The 36-year-old Westwood, who made three birdies and two bogeys to trail Mickelson by one at the turn, narrowed the gap to two with a birdie on 17 but could only par the 18th as Mickelson picked up another birdie to clinch the title.
Mickelson has suffered an emotional year after the discovery that both his wife Amy and mother had contracted breast cancer, and he hailed the win as "one of the best things we've gone through".
"To come out the other end and feel the jubilation is incredible," said Mickelson, who also won the USPGA in 2005. Phil Mickelson
Watch Mickelson's 'shot of the year'
"I could go on and on for many reasons but it's a special day and something I'll always cherish."
Kim picked up five shots on the back nine, including an eagle at the 15th to surge into the top three, while Woods, who began four shots behind, lost three strokes in the first five holes.
He holed his second for an eagle on the seventh and climbed back to nine under at the turn before a topsy-turvy back nine, which included two bogeys, two birdies and an eagle, took him to 11 under.
"I entered this event to win and I didn't get that done," said a disappointed Woods.
"I finished fourth. It's not what I wanted. I wanted to win and as this week went on I played worse. After Friday it wasn't very good. I didn't hit it well enough and made too many mistakes around the green. I'm going to take a little time off and evaluate where I go from here."
American Nick Watney fired a stunning seven-under 65 to climb to eight under, with compatriot Hunter Mahan and South Korea's USGA champion YE Yang seven under.
Westwood insists he can win a major
Ian Poulter was unable to bounce back after losing ground on Saturday and the Englishman finished five under after a closing 73.
"I'm frustrated," he said. "Yesterday I didn't hit it at all well off the tee and got myself into trouble. I played pretty well today. It's a game of fractions around this golf course. 10th - I'm not overly satisfied."
Tom Watson, the 60-year-old two-time Masters champion, followed up his second-placed finish at the Open last year with a tie for 18th at one under alongside defending champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina.
Tiger Woods in hunt as Fred Couples takes Masters lead By Rob Hodgetts, BBC Sport at Augusta
[PHOTO AT LEFT - TIGER WOODS]
Fred Couples rolled back the years to lead the Masters after round one as Tiger Woods put himself in contention despite a four-month absence from the game.
The 50-year-old Couples fired a six-under 66 on a blustery, grey day at Augusta to lead by one from Lee Westwood, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, YE Yang and KJ Choi, with Woods lurking just two shots adrift.
Woods's return from time out because of a sex scandal has dominated the tournament in the build-up, and massive crowds gathered for his opening tee shot on Thursday.
But the world number one showed few signs of rust and shot 68 for four under, the first time he has beaten 70 in the first round in 15 Masters tournaments.
[PHOTO AT LEFT - Couples rolled back the years to lead after the first round in Augusta]
Couples is enjoying a new lease of life on the senior tour in America with three wins this season, and he maintained his form with his best-ever round in 25 appearances at Augusta.
"I didn't think I would shoot 66 today," he said. "I think it's by far the best round I have had here. I felt very stiff, the wind was blowing so hard and I felt really tight.
"But I made a lot of putts. We still have to come out tomorrow and play really well on a really hard golf course." Fred Couples Couples rolled back the years to lead after the first round in Augusta
The 1992 champion, who reached the turn two under and added four more birdies, continued the trend of veterans performing well in recent majors after Greg Norman in the Open two years ago and Watson at Turnberry last year.
The 60-year-old Watson showed his play-off loss to Stewart Cink in last year's Open was not a one-off swansong either as he put himself in contention for a third Masters Green Jacket and ninth major title, 27 years after his last.
Watson, the 1977 and 1981 Masters champion, birdied the first and third and three of the last four holes for his best opening round in his 37 Masters appearances.
"The last four or five years I've gone into the tournament feeling like the course was too big for me, and today, as it was last year, the course was set up where you could get to some of the pins," said Watson.
Westwood, who has yet to win a major title, reached the turn one under and added four further birdies coming home.
The 36-year-old, who has finished third in the last two majors, has a mixed record at Augusta with a best finish of tied sixth in 1999, but he believes his experience in 10 previous Masters is finally paying off. Tiger Woods' amazing draw shot on 9th hole
Tiger's amazing draw shot on 9th
"I was saying to my caddie Billy that although it's the best I've ever played around here, it's the most comfortable I've felt on the golf course," he said.
"I'm gradually working out a way for me to get around this course in as few shots as possible."
Mickelson was one under after 12 but eagled the 510-yard par-five 13th after flying the green with his second shot and draining a 30ft putt. He added birdies at 14 and 15 to get to five under.
"It's a good start," said Mickelson. "My expectations are high. I hit a lot of good drives and a number of good iron shots and putted extremely well. Tom Watson at Augusta Watson is aiming for his third Masters victory
"The ones that missed were catching lips, which is a good sign. The greens were receptive which in this wind allowed for a lot of guys to score."
Yang is the man who ended Woods's record of winning all 14 of his major titles when leading going into the final round when he clinched the USPGA title at Hazeltine last August. His victory was the first major title for an Asian-born male.
"Everything came to me very comfortably and I've set my personal record on the course, so it feels really good," said Yang. "Hopefully I can sustain this. I don't want to be too aggressive."
England's Ian Poulter claimed six birdies to join Woods on four under while Sandy Lyle of Scotland, Masters champion in 1988, fired three birdies in his closing four holes for a three-under 69.
Two-time Masters runner-up Ernie Els, who has rediscovered his form with two straight wins in America this season, dropped two shots on the 18th to end one under, the same score as 52-year-old two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer and 16-year-old Italian amateur Matteo Manassero.
Defending champion Angel Cabrera reached three under after eight but a double-bogey seven on the 13th, the same hole Mickelson eagled, dropped him back and two bogeys in the last three holes gave him a one-over 73. Ryan Moore chips in on 14th
Ryan Moore chips in on 12th
England's Luke Donald, who tied third on his debut in 2005, signed for a 74 alongside South Africa's Retief Goosen, a two-time US Open winner, Ireland's three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, Spain's Sergio Garcia and Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who won the US Open in 2006.
Harrington had three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey and admitted afterwards that he "didn't play very well".
"I hit some really poor shots and lost my co-ordination," said the 38-year-old Dubliner. "I was chasing a birdie at the end and then hit another poor tee shot at 18 which gives me a lot of work to do over the next three days."
There was bad news for a host of other players from Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Paul Casey of England carded 75, as did Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, who was the leading European last year in a tie for 17th.
England's Ross Fisher, who was fifth in the US Open last year and led the Open going into the final round before fading to 13th, shot 77, while countryman Oliver Wilson, who went to college in Augusta, carded a six-over 78.
English debutants Simon Dyson and Chris Wood also struggled, ending five over and six over respectively.
Jim Furyk, the 2003 US Open champion and world number five amassed a score of 80, one behind Chad Campbell, who lost out in last year's play-off.
Furyk's card was only one shot better than the 52-year-old Ian Woosnam, the 1991 Masters champion, and three away from the worst total of the 96-man field, carded by 2005 US Open winner Michael Campbell of New Zealand.
FROM YAHOO SPORTS NEWS
Tiger Woods' profanity aired live on CBS - Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:36 pm EDT By Chris Chase
In his February public apology, Tiger Woods vowed he would show more respect to the game of golf. No more fist pumping, no more club tossing and no more profanity-laden outbursts after bad shots.
He made it about 42 holes.
During Saturday's third round of The Masters, Woods repeatedly cursed at himself loudly enough for television microphones to pick it up and air it live on CBS. The mini-temper tantrums came during a stretch on the front nine when Woods made three bogeys in four holes.
After a poorly-struck tee shot on the par-3 6th hole, Tiger closed his eyes in disgust and loudly said, "Tiger Woods, you suck." He followed that with a Commandment-breaking expletive and a shake of the head.
[Photo at left: Tiger Woods at Augusta National]
With impeccable timing, CBS announcer Verne Lundquist chimed in, "I don't think he's pleased."
Woods' shot failed to stay on the top slope of the green and trickled 70 feet away from the pin. He ran his birdie putt nearly 20 feet past the hole and ended up with a bogey four. On the next hole, Woods cursed again after a wayward approach shot. He would go on to card another bogey.
It seems that Tiger still can't control his emotions on the golf course, which isn't too big of a deal. It was silly that he ever thought he would be able to instantly change years of reflexive golf habits or that doing so would have any bearing on his other issues.
It's also silly that television networks continue to put live microphones on athletes and expect them to speak like choirboys. To their credit, Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo of CBS Sports later addressed Tiger's outburst during a sit down in Butler Cabin. Nantz, in particular, seemed embarrassed, while Faldo attributed the salty language to Tiger's usual on-course temper.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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