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Last Updated: Monday, 12 April, 2004, 01:59 GMT 02:59 UK
Mickelson comes of age

By Ken Brown
BBC Sport golf commentator

Phil Mickelson shouts with joy after sinking the winning putt
Mickelson played some stunning golf on his way to victory

The final round at Augusta was exciting stuff and it was amazing how it panned out as Phil Mickelson pipped Ernie Els to the title.

Other than the Nicklaus/Watson Open in 1977 I cannot remember a major championship being settled with so many dramatic shots.

Ernie and Phil both produced some sublime moments and there were also back-to-back holes-in-one, plus KJ Choi's brilliant shot at the 12th.

The day had two halves, almost like a football match.

During the first nine holes no-one seemed to be making any progress until Ernie got his eagle at the eighth.

People were just playing themselves out of contention but Ernie's eagle seemed to spark the field into life.

I think he hit a three-iron 223 yards to about 15 feet and holed it, but prior to that it had been edgy golf.

Bernhard Langer looked for a while as though he was going to feature but his run came to an end at the 15th when he found the water.

Often the champion wins at Augusta because someone makes an error and pops in it in the water but this was won by some marvellous golf

From then on it was just Els, Mickelson and Choi left in contention and Mickelson produced some brilliant stuff on the back nine.

He knew he was under pressure because of the way Els was playing and he came up with some great shots, including nearly holing his second to the 14th.

He followed up with a marvellous two at the 16th, which was vital because the last two holes are so difficult to birdie.

The 18th is the second-most difficult hole on the course but he hit a perfect drive and then a lovely iron.

It skidded on a bit and he was unlucky it did not finish a bit closer to the hole because it left him a tricky putt.

It was basically straight but notoriously difficult to read because it wobbles.

With a foot to go it looked as though it had missed, but after hanging agonisingly on the lip, it dropped.

Ernie Els looks frustrated during the final round at Augusta
Els must have thought it would at least go to a play-off
Mickelson played with a smile on his face and it seemed as though he felt it was his destiny to win.

He really seemed to enjoy it and it was great to see.

Everyone in golf knows he deserved a major and he won in it in tremendous style.

It was very disappointing for Ernie, who probably believed he had done enough to win.

It looked as though his eight-under total was always going to be at least good enough for a play-off, but Phil won it fair and square.

Often the champion wins at Augusta because someone makes an error and pops in it in the water, but this was won by some marvellous golf.

Phil has had a long time to wait and he has had to put up with lots of questions being asked of him.

But, at the 47th time of asking, he has finally won a major and he has certainly got the game to win more.

Links to more Masters 2004 stories



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