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A Win To Be Cherished – A Third Masters For Mickelson

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It was no ordinary Masters, then again, when is it ever? But the 2010 edition of the annual golf rite of spring had an extra spark this year. There was the Tiger return and drama to start the week but all the turmoil regarding that subject fell rapidly aside once the golf began and the stories that deserved focus came to light.

The table was set on Thursday. While everyone looked to the world’s best player and how he would play during his first competitive round in 20 weeks, the complete cadre of golf talent covering many decades emerged as the big Masters tale. A record worldwide audience witnessed two Champions Tour members and Green Jacket recipients climb to the top of the leader board and create massive expectation for the three days to follow. Fred Couples and Tom Watson would both eventually fade – with Couple hanging on to a hope of a win into early on the back nine on Sunday, but they both made a statement that Augusta National Golf Club is still open to assault by champion golfers of any age.

By the time the final round dawned, as much anticipation as I have ever witnessed in my 30 years of watching The Masters was clearly recognizable around the world. Golfers, non-golfers, the young, the old – there was a lot of people talking about one golf tournament in Georgia.

And it did not disappoint. By the day’s end, when Phil Mickelson made his last birdie to push him to -16 (67, 67, 71, 67 – 272) and the win, even the non-Phil fans had at least respect what he had accomplished.

Now with 38 PGA Tour wins, and four major championships, including three Masters titles (2004, 2006, and 2010), he has proven that he is indeed one of the best players of his generation.

And like Lefty has done for most of his career, he took viewers and golf fans on a wild ride all the way to the finish.

He did not make a bogey on Sunday but if you had only caught fleeting moments of the broadcast and multiple images of him flirting with the woods, you would have assumed that he had imploded in a major way.

Near the turn on Sunday, with pressure mounting from the likes of K.J. Choi, Lee Westwood, and even Tiger Woods, Mickelson was steadfast in his pursuit of this Masters. Par saves on 9, 10, and 11 kept him ahead of the pack – all leading to a pivotal moment on the 13th hole.

Facing 207 yards left to reach the green in two, Mickelson would have to challenge not only the yawning Rae’s Creek protecting the green but a golf ball resting on a bed of pine needles in the tree line. Taking up his 6 iron he blasted the ball to the putting surface, just four feet from the hole from where he would birdie.

“I had a good lie in the pine needles,” he said later. “I was going to have to go through that gap if I laid up or went for the green. I was going to have to hit a decent shot. The gap was a little bit wider—it wasn't huge, but it was big enough, you know, for a ball to fit through. I just felt like at that time, I needed to trust my swing and hit a shot, and it came off perfect.”

Where others might have failed, Mickelson completed the mission and from there played more steady golf on the way to the clubhouse and a three-stroke victory.

But even as Phil’s resume was being embellished with another major title he made it clear that the week was important in so many other ways. Especially to a family that in the last year saw Phil’s wife Amy and his mother Mary bravely face down the spectre of Cancer.
 
“This has been a very special day and a very special week,” Mickelson said following his win. “And to have (my wife) Amy and my kids here to share it with, I can't put into words. It just feels incredible, especially given what we've been through in the last year, to be able to share this kind of joy means a lot to us.”
 
Mickelson Masters WITB:

Driver: Callaway Golf FT Tour (7.5 degrees)

Fairway: Big Bertha Diablo (15 degrees)

Hybrid: Callaway Prototype (22 degrees),

Irons: X-Forged 4-iron, X-Prototype Irons (5-PW),

Wedges: Callaway JAWS Wedges (53, 60 and 64 degrees),

Ball: Tour ix Golf

Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Blade

Shoe: Callaway HX Tour Footwear

This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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  1. grochol17

    Apr 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Anyone know why Phil is using the Tour ix and not one of the newer balls?

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Tour Mash: Rahm wins in Dubai, Cook sizzles to victory

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Two more points races reached their end this weekend. The LPGA season culminated in Florida with the Race to the CME Globe, while the European Tour concluded its Race to Dubai in, where else? Dubai! The PGA Tour played its final event until the new year, in Georgia, while the Ladies European Tour played its Sanya Open in China. Before American Thanksgiving revelry and remembrance set in, it’s time for one more tour mash.

LPGA Tour: A day of twos ends in a win for Ariya

Ariya Jutanugarn birdied her final two holes to win the CME Tour Championship. She was given the opportunity to win in regulation when Lexi Thompson pushed a 2-foot putt for par at the last. Although Thompson did not win the year’s final event, she captured 2 titles of her own: Vare Trophy for low scoring average and Race To CME Globe, the season’s points race.

How Ariya Jutanugarn tasted victory

The power game has arrived on the LPGA Tour, in case you missed it. Golfers such as Lexi, Ariya and Sung Hyun Park obliterate the orb, leaving little yardage to the green. When her game is firing, Ariya Jutanugarn is unstoppable. After bogey at the first hole on Sunday, the young golfer from Thailand etched six birdies into the final 17 holes, for a second-consecutive 67. Her birdie at the last came from 23 feet, an amazing putt to hole with victory on the line. Down it went, and up went the smile of a champion.

How the rest came up just shy of a win

With eerie similarity, Lexi Thompson’s card was the flip side of Ariya’s. Thompson made six birdies over her first 17 holes, but the hiccough at the last, her only bogey on the day, dropped her to 14-under par and opened the door for Jutanugarn. Thompson was on absolute fire on Sunday, hitting all 14 fairways and using the putter 28 times. Ariya, Kim Kaufman, Michelle Wie and Suzann Pettersen stood tied atop at 10-under, heading into round 4. Pettersen’s 72, Kaufman’s 71 and Wie’s 70 were simply not enough to keep pace with those coming from behind on Sunday. Ariya, however, was up to the challenge.

European Tour: Rahm wins in Dubai and Fleetwood breathes again

For a time, it seemed as though Justin Rose would win his third consecutive event in Europe and would squeeze past Fleetwood for the season points title. The former Englishman was in the midst of the greatest scoring run of his career, while the later Englishman seemed to have little petrol left in the tank. Then the back nine on Sunday happened, and everything changed.

How Jon Rahm won the DP World Tour

Shane Lowry made 10 birdies on Sunday, but he had one bogey. Rahm had half as many birdies and zero bogeys, and that last number made the difference. The young Basque played a stellar 132 over the closing 36 holes, eclipsed only by Lowry’s 131. Rahm fearlessly navigated his way around the Jumeirah Estates course, eeking out a one-shot win over Lowry and also hard-charging Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

How the others went home trophy-less

We all want to know about Rose. four birdies on the outward 9-holes staked him to a lead, and the greatest season comeback on a major tour was nearly written. With only three bogeys in his first 63 holes, Rose proceeded to bogey 12, 14 and 16, with only a birdie at the last to bring him to 17-under. He ended up two behind Rahm, and in second place in the Race to Dubai points race. It was a glorious campaign for Rose, and cements him as world player to watch in 2018. The Englishman tied for fourth with Sergio Garcia, Dean Burmeister and Dylan Fritelli, both of South Africa, on 17-under par.

PGA Tour: Cook collects First Tour win in Georgia

Fall is a time for young aspirants to make a mark on the PGA Tour. Austin Cook followed the script, birdieing 3-of-his-final-4 holes to stretch a single-shot lead into a four-stroke triumph. J.J. Spaun, a Web.Com tour graduate in 2017, was in the mix for the second consecutive week. He played well down the stretch, and earned a runner-up finish.

How Cook caught fire

Austin Cook played a veteran front-nine, with one bogey and one birdie. None of the chasers caught him, so the Arkansas alum continued to manage his game in the fairways-greens style. On the inward half, Cook took charge, with birdies at 15, 17 and 18, to move well in front of the runner-up. With the precision of a surgeon, Cook took apart the Sea Island course in impressive fashion. After his second-round 62, many expected him to have one weak round on the weekend, but 66-67 showed the his mettle.

How the others flamed out

Spaun really didn’t flame out, not like last week, when he caught the double-bogey train. A proven winner on other tours, Spaun should win in 2018. His game was solid, mixing in more birdies than bogeys, and his second-place finish was well-earned. Brian Gay might have been more comfortable than any other golfer this week, but he was just as erratic. Case in point: back nine. From holes 13 to 18, Gay made one birdie, two eagles, two pars and one double. Still, his numbers were low enough to secure solo third, one stroke behind Spaun and two in front of the fourth-place finishers.

Ladies European Tour: Boutier sizzles on back nine for win

Celine Boutier imagined a top-10 or top-5 when the third day dawned at Yalong Bay, in China. After bogeys on holes 4 and 5, she needed to gather herself in order to preserve her standing. From this day forward, “gather herself” in the dictionary will forever show a picture of Celine Boutier. Her six-birdie finish vaulted her past all challengers, to her first European Tour victory.

How Boutier bloomed

The recent Duke University graduate posted three rounds in the 60s, the only competitor to achieve that distinction at the Sanya Open. The Frenchwoman didn’t make a bogey until the 15th hole of her second round, but she was stuck in neutral from that hole through the 9th hole on Sunday, making only pars and bogeys. Something clicked at the turn, and Boutier regained the confidence that had produced 10 birdies during the tournament’s first half.

How the others gave chase

Solar Lee was in good standing on Sunday’s outward nine. She bounced back from an opening bogey with three birdies through the 9th, and held the top spot on the leader board at 7-under. Lee reached 9-under through 13, but made bogey at 14 to drop to 8-under. Then came the blossoming of Boutier, and Lee had to be satisfied with the runner-up spot. One spot behind Lee was Valdis Thora Jonsdottir, Iceland’s reigning professional golfer, at 7-under.

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Wednesday’s Photos from The 2017 RSM Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from The 2017 RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club — the Seaside course plays as a par 70 measuring 7,005 yards — in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

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Headlined by last week’s OHL Classic champion Patton Kizzire, and 2015 RSM Champion Kevin Kisner, this week’s field is filled with notable names including Ricky Barnes, Zac Blair, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Harris English, Tommy Gainey, Bill Haas, Beau Hossler, Zach Johnson, Smylie Kaufman, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Ollie Schniederjans, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson and others.

In last year’s RSM Classic, Mackenzie Hughes won in a five-man playoff to secure his first PGA Tour victory. He’s back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out out photos from Sea Island G.C. below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

 

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2017 RSM Classic

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GolfWRX is live this week from The 2017 RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club — the Seaside course plays as a par 70 measuring 7,005 yards — in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Related

Headlined by last week’s OHL Classic champion Patton Kizzire, and 2015 RSM Champion Kevin Kisner, this week’s field is filled with notable names including Ricky Barnes, Zac Blair, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Harris English, Tommy Gainey, Bill Haas, Beau Hossler, Zach Johnson, Smylie Kaufman, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Graeme McDowell, Ollie Schniederjans, Brandt Snedeker, Hudson Swafford, Bubba Watson and others.

In last year’s RSM Classic, Mackenzie Hughes won in a five-man playoff to secure his first PGA Tour victory. He’s back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out out photos from Sea Island G.C. below!

Tuesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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