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April 12, 2015

Mickelson, Woods head in different directions Sunday at Augusta

Golf The Masters
041215_Tiger-Masters_AP Chris Carlson/AP

Four-time Masters champ Tiger Woods

AUGUSTA, Ga. — A full recap of Sunday's final round of the Masters as Jordan Spieth ties Tiger Woods' scoring record and won his first major championship, holding off Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy at Augusta National.

8:20 p.m.

Having denied Rory McIlroy a career Grand Slam, Jordan Spieth looks forward to a spirited rivalry between two of the game's brightest young stars.

Spieth won the Masters at age 21 on Sunday, romping to a four-stroke victory and the first wire-to-wire triumph at Augusta National since Raymond Floyd in 1976. The youngster also tied the tournament scoring record with an 18-under 270 total.

McIlroy settled for fourth place, six shots back, and will have to wait a year to make his next attempt at the Grand Slam. He already won the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, leaving the Masters as the only big victory missing from his resume at age 25.

"He's got four majors. That's something I can still only dream about," Spieth said. "I'll never hit it as far as he does, so I'll have to make up that somewhere else."

McIlroy began the final round 10 shots behind Spieth, and a sluggish start essentially ended his chances of a historic comeback. He played well down the stretch, finishing with a 6-under 66.

"I look forward to getting in the heat of the moment with him a few more times in the near future," Spieth said. "We'll see if we can battle it out and test our games."

McIlroy needed Spieth to falter to have a chance.

That never happened.

"I didn't start that fast and got going in the middle of the round," McIlroy said. "But even that wouldn't really matter. Jordan just went out and played ... a really, really solid round of golf."

Clearly, the future of the game is bright.

"He's been playing great for a 21-year-old," McIlroy said of Spieth. "He's way more mature than I was at 21."

7:29 p.m.

Phil Mickelson knew he needed a truly special round to catch Jordan Spieth.

Instead, he ended up in a familiar spot.


Mickelson closed with a 3-under 69 that left him tied with Justin Rose, four shots behind the wire-to-wire winner.

On a resume that includes five major titles, it was the 10th second-place finish for Lefty in golf's biggest events.

This won't hurt as bad as some of the others, especially all those close calls in the only major he's never won, the U.S. Open.

Mickelson never got any closer than four shots of the lead, even after holing out an eagle from the bunker at the par-5 15th hole.

"It was just a good, solid round of golf," Mickelson said. "I needed something exceptional."

He was doomed by three bogeys, which prevented him from making a serious run at Spieth.

"Every time I got a birdie here or there, I stalled with a bogey," Mickelson said. "It was a really fun tournament. I thought I played some good golf. I just got outplayed. Jordan was phenomenal."

7:20 p.m.

Tiger Woods stirred up quite a frenzy on social media when talking about an injury to his right hand during the final round of the Masters.

After an errant drive at the ninth hole, Woods struck a hidden tree root while hitting his second shot off the pine straw.

Woods screamed in pain and let the club fly out of his hand. He shook his hand walking toward the green but managed to salvage par on the way to a closing 1-over 73.

Afterward, when asked about the injury on CBS, Woods said "the bone popped out."

That amateur diagnosis led to plenty of derisive responses on Twitter.

The apparently gruesome injury notwithstanding, Woods said he was proud of the way he played at Augusta National, finishing with a 5-under 283 in his first tournament since he walked off the course at Torrey Pines in early February, his body hurting and his game a mess.

Woods said he'll take some time off before playing in his next PGA Tour event, with an eye toward getting ready for the U.S. Open in June.

6:56 p.m.

The green jacket belongs to Jordan Spieth.

Spieth finished off the first wire-to-wire victory at the Masters since 1976 with a dominating four-stroke triumph Sunday. About the only thing that didn't go his way was the final hole, where he made a bogey to merely tie the tournament scoring record.

Tiger Woods won his first green jacket in 1997 with an 18-under 270. Spieth matched that score with a closing 70.

It was a thoroughly dominating performance from start to finish. Spieth seized control with an 8-under 64, the best opening round at the Masters in 19 years. He set Masters scoring records for both 36 holes (14-under 130) and 54 holes (16-under 210).

Spieth also set a Masters record with 28 birdies, three more than Phil Mickelson's mark of 25 from 2001.

Mickelson and Justin Rose tied for the runner-up spot. Rory McIlroy was six shots back.

No one got closer than three shots throughout the final round.

6:32 p.m.

Tiger Woods shot a one-over 73 on Sunday at Augusta. He ended the day tied with Sergio Garcia in 17th place. 

His playing partner, World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, was seven shots better, finishing the tournament at 12-under par after an impressive 66 in the final round. McIlroy is the leader in the clubhouse, but is in fourth place overall, seven shots behind leader Jordan Spieth.

6:18 p.m.

Jordan Spieth reached unprecedented territory at the Masters early Sunday evening.

With a birdie at the 15th hole, Spieth became the first player in Augusta National history to get to 19-under par.

If he can play the last two holes at even par, Spieth would break the tournament scoring record set in 1997, an 18-under 270 that gave Tiger Woods his first green jacket.

Perhaps it would only be appropriate for Spieth to finish off a wire-to-wire victory with another record. He already set new Masters standards for 36 holes (14-under 130) and 54 holes (16-under 200).

Spieth went to the 16th hole with a four-stroke lead on Justin Rose and a five-shot edge on Phil Mickelson.

Rory McIlroy made a charge late in the day, but it wasn't nearly enough to get him into the mix. He was 5 under on the day hearing to the final hole, still eight shots out of the lead.

Tiger Woods was never a factor, doomed by some wild shots off the tee. He was even for the round and 13 shots behind Spieth.

 6:10 p.m.

Say this about Phil Mickelson: He always makes things interesting.

Needing a miracle to catch Jordan Spieth at the Masters, Lefty put his second shot at the par-5 15th into a bunker right of the green. No problem. Mickelson holed out the shot from the sand for an eagle, pushing him to 14-under par.

Unfortunately for Mickelson, he was still four shots behind Spieth with only three holes to play.

Justin Rose, playing with Spieth in the final group, was also 14 under.

5:48 p.m.

Jordan Spieth didn't play it safe Sunday with a comfortable lead at the Masters.

At the par-five 13th hole, Spieth's tee shot left him 208 yards from the flag. Rather than lay up short of the creek, which still would have given him a good shot at birdie, he went for the green.

As the ball sailed toward the stick, the 21-year-old Texan screamed, "Go hard! Go hard! Go hard!"

The ball cleared the creek, plopped down on the green and stopped about 14 feet past the cup.

Spieth missed the eagle attempt, which would have made him the first player in Masters history to get to 19-under par. But he tapped in the par and still had a shot at break Tiger Woods' scoring record, an 18-under 270 while winning his first green jacket in 1997.

That made Woods the youngest champion in Masters history.

If Spieth can hold on, he would be the second-youngest by a few months.

5:05 p.m.

Jordan Spieth had the green jacket firmly in his grasp Sunday, going to the back side with a five-stroke lead in the final round of the Masters.

After a bogey at the seventh cut his lead over Justin Rose to just three shots, Spieth made a birdie at the par-5 eighth and gained a stroke when Rose missed a 6-footer for birdie.

Then at the ninth, Rose three-putted from 20 feet for a bogey that cost him another stroke.

Just like that, Spieth had a bigger lead than he had the start of the day.

It was an interesting contrast to the 2014 Masters, when Spieth played in the final group with Bubba Watson. That day, Spieth had a two-shot lead going to the eighth hole, but made back-to-back bogeys. Watson birdied both holes, turning his deficit into a two-shot lead heading to the back nine.

Watson won going away.

This time, it would take an epic collapse for Spieth to throw away his first major title.

In fact, the main issue seemed to be whether he could break another Masters scoring record. He was at 17-under par, one stroke off the mark Tiger Woods set while winning in 1997.

Rose was at 12 under, tied with Phil Mickelson after Lefty rolled in a birdie putt at the 10th.

4:50 p.m.

Tiger Woods played the final round of the Masters like he was lobbying for a role in "Into The Woods."

Hoping to rally from a 10-shot deficit, Woods' chances were done in by an errant driver. At the very first hole, he yanked his tee shot into the adjacent first hole — and it only got worse from there.

At the ninth, Woods struck a hidden root while hitting off the pine straw, prompting him to drop the club and yell out in pain. He managed to salvage a par, but again drove into the trees at the 10th, failed to get out with his next shot, and wound up taking bogey.

Woods was 2 over for the day and 13 shots behind leader Jordan Spieth.

4:31 p.m.

Jordan Spieth just couldn't pull away at Augusta National.

His second bogey of the day at the seventh, where he missed a slick 5-foot putt, allowed Justin Rose to again close within three shots of the Masters lead on Sunday.

Rose made an adventurous par at that same hole. The Englishman drove behind a pine tree, was still among the patrons after his second shot, nearly holed out a chip, and then made a short putt that rolled all the way around the lip of the cup before dropping in.

Rose wiggled his hips like a hula dancer, mimicking the path of his ball.

Showing plenty of sportsmanship, Spieth gave Rose a thumbs-up for his third shot.

Spieth was at 16-under par heading to the eighth hole, which was the same point where he had a two-shot edge on Bubba Watson a year ago at Augusta National. Spieth lost that edge before the turn and watched Watson pull away to win his second green jacket in two years.

Let's see if Spieth can hold on this time.

The only other player with a real shot was three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson, whose birdie at the eighth brought him within four strokes of the leader.

3:37 p.m.

Back and forth they go at Augusta National.

It's almost like match play Sunday between Masters leader Jordan Spieth and closest pursuer Justin Rose.

They made matching birdies at the first hole. Rose struck the first blow of the final pairing at No. 2, making another birdie to close within three shots of the lead. But Spieth restored his four-shot edge with an 18-foot birdie at the third, as Rose missed his own birdie try from about 15 feet.

Spieth is back to 18-under par for the tournament.

Tiger Woods is the only other player ever to get that low, with his winning score at the 1997 Masters.

Spieth had 15 more holes to take the mark even lower. Judging by some of the early scores, there's plenty of low numbers to be had in the final round.

3:22 p.m.

At the final round of the Masters, the first blow was delivered by Justin Rose.

The Englishman started Sunday with two straight birdies to take his score to 14-under par. The leader, Jordan Spieth, made a matching birdie at No. 1 but missed about a 4-footer and settled for par at the second.

Spieth's miss came right after Rose rolled in a 5-foot birdie, closing the gap to three shots.

Rose was playing brilliantly, having birdied seven of his last eight holes going back to Saturday.

It looks like a three-man race, at best.

Phil Mickelson birdied the second and remains five shots behind Spieth. Charley Hoffman has fallen eight shots back and just one other player, Dustin Johnson, is as close as 10 strokes.

Both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were off to sluggish starts. McIlroy had four straight pars, while Woods dropped to 12 shots back with a bogey at the fourth.

3:01 p.m.

Justin Rose rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt to start the final round of the Masters.

Justin Spieth answered the challenge, making a 10-foot birdie of his own to maintain a four-stroke lead after the first hole Sunday.

It was a good start for the 21-year-old Texan, playing in the final group at Augusta National for the second year in a row.

Phil Mickelson made par at the first hole, dropping six shots behind Spieth. Charley Hoffman started with a bogey and fell eight strokes back.

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, both needing historic rounds to overcome double-digit deficits, squandered a chance to get closer by missing short birdie putts at the easy second hole. They were 11 shots off the pace.

2:51 p.m.

Not looking the least bit nervous, Jordan Spieth teed off in the Masters with a four-stroke lead Sunday.

Spieth smiled and tipped his cap when the starter announced his name, and then he followed with a perfectly placed drive in the fairway.

This is the second year in a row that Spieth played in the final group at Augusta. In 2014, he was tied with Bubba Watson and actually built a two-stroke lead with 11 holes to play. But Watson rallied to win his second green jacket in three years.

The 21-year-old Spieth had a bit of a cushion this time, after setting a 54-hole scoring record with a 16-under 200.

Justin Rose was Spieth's closest challenger and playing in the final group of a major for the first time. Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson was five shots behind, while Charley Hoffman, at six back, was the only other player within single digits of the leader. They were in the second-to-last group and, in all likelihood, the only ones with a chance to win the green jacket.

The lone player to rally from as far as 10 shots down on the final day to capture a major championship was Paul Lawrie at the 1999 British Open. Of course, that tournament is best remembered for Jean van de Velde's epic collapse on the 72nd hole.

Hoffman dropped a shot right away, making a bogey at the first hole.

2:42 p.m.

Tiger Woods started the final round of the Masters by playing the wrong hole.

Woods yanked his tee shot into the adjacent ninth fairway Sunday. He was able to hit an approach over the trees to the fringe of the green and salvaged par.

Rory McIlroy, playing with Woods in the third group from end, also opened with a par.

Both McIlroy and Woods were 10 shots behind the leader, Jordan Spieth.

1:28 p.m.

It looks like another day for going low at Augusta National.

On a cloudy Sunday, with temperatures expected to peak out in the upper 70s, there are plenty of red numbers on the board among the early starters.

Keegan Bradley is 4-under par through 10 holes. Jimmy Walker is 3 under through 12. Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson are 2 under after playing just a few holes.

Essentially, there are two tournaments at this point.

Jordan Spieth hold a four-stroke lead over Justin Rose after setting a 54-hole scoring record with a 16-under 200. Phil Mickelson is five shots back and already warming up on the practice range, looking to rally for his fourth Masters championship. Charley Hoffman, at six off the pace, is the only other player with a single-digit deficit.

Spieth and Rose tee off in the final group at 2:50 p.m. EDT.

Leading the B-flight, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are among those 10 shots off the pace; they'll be playing together in the third group from the end.

Also at 210 are Kevin Streelman, winner of the Par 3 Contest, Kevin Na and Dustin Johnson.

Only one player, Paul Lawrie at the 1999 British Open, has ever rallied from 10 shots down on the final day to win a major championship.

That was the year that Jean van de Velde collapsed on the 72nd hole and lost in a playoff.