Spieth & Mickelson provided the match of the day on Sunday at Augusta

John Shortt

Phil Mickelson (Image: Masters Media)

On Masters Sunday there is sometimes a match that really captures the imagination and today that match was Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson.

Playing in what appeared to be a less friendly atmosphere than would normally be the case between this pair there weren’t many words exchanged on the fairways as they traded blows around Augusta National.

It did seem from walking with them for the front nine that they were trying to outdo each other as much as they were trying to post a score, and what transpired was akin to a matchplay game with blows being traded and birdies exchanged. In the end Spieth’s round of 66 was bested on the 18th green by a birdie from Mickelson as he recorded a 65, which incidentally is his lowest final round at The Masters.


As they walked off the 18th there was a handshake and a couple of words and Mickelson was T2 with Koepka on 8-under par with Spieth one shot back in T4 on 7-under and he had carded the most birdies of anyone in the field (21) for the week at that stage, including 9 in the final round.

“I was trying to honestly just match Phil shot for shot coming in. And just toed it off 18. I felt really good over it. Drove the ball — I was a little off on the weekend driving it. Just played a nice fade on 18. I made a good swing, I just stood too far away from it and toed it so it went over where I didn’t have much of a shot,” said Spieth.

“I felt like — what did I shoot, 6-under and three bogeys? Two par-3s, I was a foot off. I landed it on 4 in the fringe and it came back in the bunker, and I made bogey. I was a foot off of about a five-footer on 16 and it hit right under the lip.

“When you’re that far back, you have to have everything go right. It was close, but I should have done a lot better in those first three rounds. I made a tremendous amount of mental mistakes. To be this close now, it’s nice, but it also almost frustrates me more because I really — I made some mistakes I don’t normally make out here, and it was more decision errors than anything else.

For his part, Mickelson had been saying earlier in the week that he was, “going to go on a tear pretty soon.” Little did we know it would be on Sunday at The Masters and he was pretty happy with his lot after the round.

“No matter the outcome, I had so much fun today,” he said.

“I feel like I’ve been hitting these type of quality shots, but I have not been staying focused and present for the upcoming shot, and I make a lot of mistakes. Kind of like you saw on Thursday, and that cost me a bunch of strokes.

“To come out today and play the way I did and hit the shots when I needed, it’s so much fun. I’m grateful to be a part of this tournament and to be here competing and then to play well, it means a lot.

“Hopefully it’s a stepping stone. I know I’ve been playing really well. I’ve been shooting low scores back home. I’ve been playing consistently well. When I’ve been competing, I have not been staying present. I haven’t been letting it happen, kind of forcing it. I just haven’t been scoring the way I know I can.”

And the 52-year-old is hoping this is a sign of things to come as he’s put in the hard graft and now it’s time to start seeing some results.

“Today is hopefully a stepping stone to really kick start the rest of the year and continue some great play because I have a unique opportunity. At 52, no physical injuries, no physical problems, being able to swing a club the way I want to, to do things in the game that not many people have had a chance to do later in life.

“I’ve kind of really worked hard in the off-season to get in shape, to get ready for this upcoming season, and I’m out there hitting shots and not scoring. So it’s been frustrating. Today was really a fun day. Hopefully I’ll be able to use this again as a springboard for the rest year.”

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