- The Augusta Chronicle - Saturday, March 30, 2013

When he looks back on the 2012 Masters Tournament, Phil Mickelson doesn’t think about the third-round 66 that moved him within a shot of the lead and into Sunday’s final pairing.

Rather, he thinks about what happened in the final round that cost him a fourth green jacket.

“It goes back to the fourth hole,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson took triple bogey 6 on the par-3 fourth, derailing his hopes. He did play his final 14 holes in 3-under to shoot 72 and finish tied for third, two shots out of the playoff.

His problems on No. 4 started when Mickelson’s tee shot headed for the grandstands to the left of the green. If it had ended up in the grandstands, Mickelson would have received a free drop and would have had what he calls an easy chip in a bid to save his par.

Instead, the tee shot hit the railing on the edge of the grandstands, bounced high in the air and ended up in the bushes. After it took Mickelson two shots to get out of the bushes, he dumped his fourth shot in the bunker. He nearly holed out the bunker shot for five, and tapped in for six.

“He was a bit unfortunate on the fourth,” said Peter Hanson, Mickelson’s playing partner that day.

“Everybody’s got to deal with the breaks,” Mickelson said last month. “Sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don’t.”

Mickelson was aiming for either the bunker or the grandstands on the tee shot, not the green.

“It wasn’t a bad miss by any means,” he said. “When it hit the metal railing and shot dead left into the trees, that was unfortunate.”

Mickelson knew the pin on No. 4 would be on the front-left on Sunday – it’s a traditional final-round location.

“What’s interesting about that particular shot is I tell guys I play with, that front pin, anything short and anything right and anything long right you can’t get it close,” he said. “You have to go into the bunker. If you go into the grandstands, you’ve got a chip that’s right uphill and you’re going to get it up-and-down seven out of 10 times. So keep it left. Hit it in the grandstands or the bunker. In the bunker, you’re going to make par 80 percent of the time. Maybe more.”

It was the first time the shot on No. 4 had gotten away from Mickelson to the point where it went in the grandstands, he said.

“I’ve hit it up against it,” Mickelson said. “That sliver of green is so difficult to hit. The ideal spot is going to be 40 feet behind the hole on the left edge of the green. That’s where you can make par. I can make par from that bunker just as much as I can from that 40-foot putt.”

The triple bogey on No. 4 was Mickelson’s second triple of the tournament. He lost a ball off the tee on No. 10 in the first round. After the triple on No. 10, Mickelson was 4-over at that point in the first round. He rallied to finish at 2-over-par 74, then followed it with 68-66-72.

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