Mickelson Surge Sets up Masters Showdown Today

Peter Hanson has 1-stroke lead going into last day of tourney
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2012 2:03 AM CDT
Mickelson Surge Sets up Masters Showdown Today
Phil Mickelson pumps his fist after a birdie putt on the 18th green during the third round of the Masters golf tournament Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Augusta, Ga.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A thrilling birdie-battle on the back nine yesterday between crowd-favorite Phil Mickelson and little-known Swede Peter Hanson has the Masters posed for an epic final-day showdown, reports ESPN. Mickelson hit a 20-foot putt for an eagle on the 12th and an amazing shot on the 15th that had the crowds roaring. But Hanson holed four birdies in the last five holes to end the day with a one-stroke lead.

"I've been watching this tournament since I was a young kid," says the 34-year-old Hanson, "and seeing Freddie Couples and the guys go and shoot 30 and 31 on the back nine is something you just dream about." Mickelson has won the Masters three times before (most recently in 2010), and is looking to join Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods as the only four-time winners of the famous green jacket. "I love it here, and I love nothing more than being in the last group on Sunday," said Mickelson. "It's the greatest thing in professional golf." (More Phil Mickelson stories.)

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