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2010 Masters: Day Three, Phil Mickelson Poised for Victory

John Doublin@CoachJayDeeSenior Writer IApril 11, 2010

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10:  Phil Mickelson hits a putt on the 17th green during the third round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Wow! What a day for "Lefty!"

Day three at Augusta started like any other day. Mickelson was in the hunt, but not doing anything spectacular. The leader, Lee Westwood, was getting all the media attention, and the gallery was following every move Tiger Woods made.

Well, they missed the real show.

Mickelson started strong with birdies on holes two and three, stumbled a bit with a bogey on six, but recovered with another birdie on eight. With pars on the remaining holes to finish with a two-under 34 on the front nine, Lefty must have felt vindicated after an average, if not lackluster second round.

The back nine is where the real story begins.

After a bogey on 10, most thought, "This is where he falls apart, right?"

Wrong. 

Phil settled down, got his composure back and scored pars on both 11 and 12.

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Then, the fireworks started.

When his second shot on the par-five 13th landed on the green, people felt, "Well, if he sinks this, he could have a shot."

They had no idea.

Mickelson promptly went on to drain the putt on 13 to score an eagle and move to three-under on the day and nine-under for the tournament.

He was just getting started.

On the par-four 14th, Lefty was riding the high of an eagle on the previous hole, but the added adrenaline didn't seem to effect his stroke. He drilled his drive to perfection, landing it squarely on the fairway in perfect position to have a clear shot at the green with his second.

And what a second shot it was.

With purposeful motion, he struck the ball into history. It landed about 10 feet beyond the pin, but was delivered with just enough spin to start back to the hole at a leisurely pace. It took what seemed like an hour to travel that 10 feet, but it was worth the wait.

It's in the hole.

Did I just see, what I thought I saw?

Yes. Yes I did.

As if an eagle on a par-four isn't rare enough, Mickelson joined Dan Pohl (1983) and Dustin Anderson (2009) to become only the third player in history to score consecutive eagles at the Masters.

A birdie on 15 meant that in just three holes, he made up five shots on leader Lee Westwood. He finished the round with a bogey at 17. A par at 18 resulted in a five-under 67, an 11-under 205 overall after 54 holes.

The great rally on the back nine in day two, combined with his stellar performance in round three results in Mickelson being in sole possession of second place, just one shot behind leader Westwood, and three strokes ahead of K.J. Choi and a resurgent Tiger Woods.

Now that he finds himself in the final pairing with Westwood, will he play like he did yesterday to win his third Green Jacket?  Or will he allow the pressure to get to him and let his hopes of being referred to as a "three-time Masters champion, Phil Mickelson" slip through his fingers?

I only know one thing for sure. I will be watching.

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