Mickelson wins Augusta Masters

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/G/Golfgeneric.jpg' class='caption'> Phil Mickelson clinched the first major title of his career with a one-stroke victory at the 68th Masters tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Phil Mickelson finally clinched the first major title of his career with a one-stroke victory at the 68th Masters tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday. Mickelson rolled in a birdie putt at the 18th to move to nine under par and finish ahead of Ernie Els, whose five-under round of 67 wasn't quite good enough to earn a green jacket. Sergio Garcia appeared to be completely out of contention when he started the day at three-over par, but the Spaniard carded a six-under final round of 66 for a joint fourth place finish with Bernhard Langer at three under par. KJ Choi finished the weekend three shots off the pace and claimed a creditable third place. The Korean holed out for an eagle at the 11th and went on to add another three birdies for a round of 69 and a combined total of six-under par. Ernie Els was keen to deny joint overnight leaders Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco the green jacket and rolled in an eagle putt - his second of the round - at the 13th to move to seven-under par for the tournament. DiMarco had become the first player to card a hole-in-one at the Masters since 1996 on Thursday. Padraig Harrington matched that feat at the 16th, on the way to an even-par final round and a share of 13th place. And who says that lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice? Kirk Triplett of the USA followed Harrington's example and holed in one at the 16th tee just ten minutes after the Irishman. The 42-year-old went on to card an even par round and shared sixth place at two-under par. Triplett finished level with Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Nick Price, Paul Casey and DiMarco, who struggled to a final round of four-over par 76. Els birdied the 15th and parred the last three holes to finish at eight-under par for the clubhouse lead. Mickelson bogeyed three of his first six holes and it appeared that his quest for a first major title wouldn't be completed at Augusta this year. But Mickelson, who was taking part in the 47th major tournament of his career, birdied three consecutive holes between the 12th and 14th to move back into contention. The American then birdied the 16th to move level with Els at eight-under. Els endured a painful wait as Mickelson, who was playing two groups behind the South African, completed the final two holes of his round. With his rival in fine form, a play-off was probably the best Els could hope for. However, after rolling in a par putt at the 17th, Mickelson drove his second shot at the par-four 18th to within 18 feet of the pin. That left a tough birdie putt for victory, but Mickelson calmly rolled it towards the cup and leapt into the air as his ball curled around before dropping in. Mickelson finished with his third successive round of three-under par and completed a one stroke victory over Els with a combined total of nine-under par. The 33-year-old then retired to the clubhouse where he received his much sought after green jacket from 2003 champion, and fellow left-hander, Mike Weir. (AP)

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