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Condoleezza Rice shoots round with Phil Mickelson

- The Augusta Chronicle - Sunday, April 7, 2013

With Phil Mickelson watching, Condoleezza Rice settled herself and putted.

The ball traveled about 40 feet and found the cup at Augusta National Golf Club's 18th hole for par. Cue the celebratory fist pump and a memorable post-round picture.

Rice, the former U.S. secretary of state and one of Augusta National's first two female members, completed a round Sunday with three-time Masters Tournament champion Mickelson.

“I’m telling you, on the greens, she’s a phenomenal putter,” Mickelson said after the round.

The two teed off Sunday morning and, after Rice’s first shot, Mickelson put his arm around her as they walked off the first tee. They completed their rounds a little after 2 p.m.

After lunch in the grill room, Rice donned her green jacket and joined other members for a brief tour of the tournament practice facility. She walked around and talked to some of the golfers in the field, including Jason Day.

“I putted well today, I did,” Rice said. “They finally started falling in on the back nine.”

After the long putt and the group picture, Rice made her way to the first tee. Four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods was there, about to start his practice round. The Stanford-tied pair hugged and had a quick chat.

Rice soon walked off the course, but Mickelson wasn’t done gushing about her putting skills. He complimented her speed and her touch as well as her ability to read the greens, calling her one of the better members he’s seen in that regard.

Mickelson said he hopes the two can play together another time, either at Au­gus­ta Na­tion­al or back in Cali­for­nia.

“She’s one of my favorite people to be around,” Mick­el­son said. “She’s so knowledgeable and interesting to talk to and I always learn so much. When I saw she became a member, one of the first things I did was try to schedule a game close to Mas­ters time. The fact that she’s here, we were able to work it out. It was really cool.”

Though the two were at a place much more familiar to Mick­elson, the questions weren’t flying from just one direction.

“She kept asking about the course and I kept asking about countries,” Mickelson said jokingly. “But it was really fun – she really can putt.”