Masters' Final Round Promises Thrills
M: From Augusta, NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
TOM GOLDMAN: Indeed, the man nicknamed Lefty, Phil Mickelson, had eagled number 13 and kicked Saturday into overdrive. He was now just three shots behind Westwood. Two under par eagles are a big deal. Two in a row? Golfers had done that only twice in Masters history - until yesterday.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
GOLDMAN: They were still buzzing around the 14th green, just minutes after Mickelson hit his second shot from the 14th fairway into the cup for back-to- back eagles. Now, 11-under, one behind Westwood, and on he went to the par-five 15th where he chipped his third shot over water, onto the green and - come on, you cannot be serious.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
GOLDMAN: No, it wasn't a third eagle in a row, but oh, so close.
PHIL MICKELSON: It went across the hole from my viewpoint but it was about eight inches behind it. But as it was crossing the hole, I was expecting it to disappear, yeah.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
GOLDMAN: Alas, only a one-under-par birdie, but enough to pull Mickelson into a tie with Westwood. For Mickelson, incredible momentum. For Westwood, a five- shot lead gone - poof - the kind of thing that can shatter a golfer's confidence. But not Westwood's.
LEE WESTWOOD: 'Cause what Phil Mickelson does is really out of my control. The only thing that I can control, as I've said all week, is what I do, where I hit it.
GOLDMAN: Westwood, in a bubble of solitude and concentration during the round, said he had no room for thinking about what somebody else was doing. Just the opposite with Mickelson.
MICKELSON: I do look at the leaderboard quite a bit to see who's doing what. I think it's fun. You see the roars and you try to figure out who did what and the leaderboard tells you.
GOLDMAN: Yesterday's leaderboard told the tale of lots of up and down performances, a function, Mickelson said, of the warm weather and what he called receptive greens, prompting a lot of players to take risks, like he did on 13 when he hit a long shot to the green instead of playing it safe. And Mickelson predicted more of the same today.
MICKELSON: I think the course is going to be set up similarly in that you can make some birdies and challenge some pins. I think it's going to be an exciting Sunday.
GOLDMAN: Tom Goldman, NPR News, Augusta.
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