Lefty not out of it yet

Updated: 2012-04-07 07:45

(China Daily)

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Phil Mickelson started the day early and finished late at the Masters on Thursday and in between times he battled gamely to keep alive his hopes of a fourth green jacket.

The 41-year-old American crowd favorite was on hand - clad in his Masters green jacket - to watch golfing legends Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Plamer set the ball rolling as honorary starters just after the crack of dawn.

He then did some practice, had a nap and came back for his 1:53 p.m. tee time in the day's final grouping.

What followed gave every indication that his gesture toward golfing tradition may have been sorely misplaced in terms of fostering his own chances of winning the tournament.

Mickelson opened with a bogey and was two over at the turn before a disastrous triple-bogey seven at the 10th, where he lost his ball off the tee, had him at five over and facing the probability of a missed cut at Augusta National for just the second time in 20 campaigns, after that of 1997.

But he insisted he had no regrets over his own scheduling.

"I've been here 20-plus years. I've been wanting to do that every year and this worked out great because I had the last tee time," he said.

"I came out and was able to watch them tee off, have breakfast with (coach) Butch (Harmon) and a little practice session shortly after, plenty of time to go home, take a nap and get ready for the round.

"I think that it's an experience that I really enjoyed watching those guys hit it, what they have meant to the game of golf."


(China Daily 04/07/2012 page16)