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MASTERS NOTES

Phil Mickelson has 'off year' at Masters

The golfer closes with a one-over 73 in the final round for a nine-over score at Augusta. Mickelson didn't crack 70 in any round.

April 14, 2013|By Brian Hamilton
  • Phil Mickelson's spirits were dampened by another rough outing at the Masters this year.
Phil Mickelson's spirits were dampened by another rough outing at… (Gerry Melendez / McClatchy-Tribune )

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The week off before the Masters didn't work, the Phrankenwood club and the jumbo grip club didn't work and, well, basically nothing worked for Phil Mickelson at the Masters.

The three-time champion closed with a one-over 73 on Sunday, leaving him at nine over for the event. Mickelson didn't crack 70 in any round, and the uncertainty that worried him entering the week dogged him all weekend.

"I just had an off year, I don't know what to tell you," Mickelson said. "I played poorly. Butch [Harmon] and I, we had some good direction and I'll have something to work on these next two weeks before I play at [the Wells Fargo Championship] and The Players [Championship].

"I'm disappointed in myself because I expect a lot more of myself, out of my game."

Mickelson cited technical and fundamental issues with his swing and the lack of on-course time entering Augusta National.

"I just wasn't as mentally sharp as I need to be, and I've got to find another way to get ready for big events if I'm not able to compete the week before," Mickelson said.

Teen sensation

Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old from China, didn't record anything worse than a bogey and broke 80 in all four rounds en route to a 12-over finish at his first Masters. Despite a slow-play controversy, it was a success.

"The first couple rounds, I played pretty good," Guan said. "I feel a little bit tired today. My short game's good but still needs to be better. My driver probably needs to be longer. Everything needs to improve."

Ten pinned

Kevin Na, he of the famed 16 at the 2011 Texas Open, added to his list of, er, accomplishments Sunday. Na carded a 10 at the 12th hole Sunday, sending three shots into the water and continuing to re-tee each time.

"The drop zone, it's actually a very difficult shot with the right pin," Na said. "You're better off re-teeing. Sadly, I hit three bad swings in a row — actually four, the last one was no good too — but it is what it is. Trying to pull off a shot that is maybe a little low percentage, but I've got nothing to lose."

Defending champion Bubba Watson later repeated Na's feat, also putting three shots into the drink on 12.

Not his day

Jason Day was leading the Masters on Saturday before bogeying the final two holes and was at nine under and in the lead after 15 holes Sunday before bogeying two straight holes. And that would make it two top-10 finishes in three years, with no wins at Augusta.

"I love this tournament regardless of where I finish," Day said. "It's a little disappointing, but there's a lot of experience that I can take into next year and hopefully I can wear one of those green jackets soon."

bchamilton@tribune.com

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