Last Updated: 13/02/12 1:27pm
Mickelson jumps for joy.
For years Phil Mickelson had carried the dreaded tag of 'Best Player Not To Have Won A Major'.
The regular PGA Tour wins had come thick and fast - 22 in all and one even as an amateur back in 1991 - but in the majors he'd suffered a string of heartaches.
So no wonder Mickelson literally jumped for joy when he finally landed his first at his favourite golf course on the planet.
Typical of his flamboyant nature, the left-hander did it with a classic Masters back nine charge.
Playing a few groups in front, Ernie Els looked to have one arm in the Green Jacket when he eagled 13 to move three clear with five to play and another birdie at 15 appeared to keep him in the driving seat.
But Mickelson responded with a hat-trick of birdies at 12, 13 and 14 and with Els just missing a birdie at 18, Lefty was one back with three holes to play.
A fine tee-shot and 20 foot putt at 16 pulled Mickelson level and, after a par at 17, he set up his moment of destiny with two solid hits to the 18th green.
After assessing the line of his 18 foot putt with long-time caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay, Mickelson set his ball towards the hole and, after an agonising wait, watched it topple into the hole for a dramatic winning birdie.
England's Justin Rose had made the early running, producing rounds of 67 and 71 to take a two-shot lead at halfway. His challenge faltered over the weekend, leaving Chris DiMarco to take the 54-hole lead with a four-under 68.
DiMarco's hopes were wrecked by a final round 76, leaving the stage to Els and Mickelson, who celebrated his winning putt with a star-jump that went straight into the vaults of iconic Masters images.
Tiger Woods was never a factor and his tied 22nd place finish remains his worst Masters finish as a pro.
The standout stat in Mickelson's first Masters win was his ninth place position on the Driving Accuracy stats. Normally known for spraying it off the tee, his average ranking in that category in the noughties was 34th so to find so many fairways was key and also helped him finish top of the Greens In Regulation stats. His untypical straight hitting meant he also had less blemishes on his scorecard than anyone in the field (just six - five bogeys and a double). His straighter driving in 2004 saw him finish second in the US Open, third in the Open (his best ever showing) and sixth in the USPGA.
|T6||Davis Love III||286||-2|
|Par 3 Contest Winner||Score|
|U.S. Open||Retief Goosen|
|The Open||Todd Hamilton|