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Devil Ball Golf

Phil Mickelson falls just short in his bid for a fourth green jacket

Jay Busbee
Devil Ball Golf

AUGUSTA, Ga. — You wouldn't expect to find jungle undergrowth at Augusta National, but if there was anyone in the Masters field you'd pick to find it, it would be Phil Mickelson.

Sure enough, Mickelson drove an approach shot on the fourth hole deep into foliage that looked like it came off the set of "Apocalypse Now," and that was enough to kill his chances at a fourth green jacket. He would take two shots to get out of the jungle and six shots on the par-3 hole overall, and that was enough to keep him out of a playoff with Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.

Mickelson actually didn't play that badly, relatively speaking; after the triple-bogey, he clambered his way back up the leaderboard to finish the round exactly where he started, at minus-8. In the end, though, poor putting killed his chances every bit as much as one ugly hole did. Mickelson left multiple putts inches short or just wide. Those are the kinds of shots that will burn at him for an entire year.

So, no green jacket, no repeat trip to Krispy Kreme, despite some prognosticators' assurance that it was in the bag. But Mickelson left the 18th green and walked into the waiting arms of his family, and for this day, that would have to be enough.

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