“The Zone” – Some athletes describe it as seeing everything in slow motion. Some describe it as seeing the basket the size of a swimming pool, the baseball the size of a grapefruit, the defense is just not there. Well Phil Mickelson found it during the 3rd round of the Masters yesterday.
For a 3-hole stretch, “Lefty” was in “The Zone”. On the par 5 13th, Phil was trailing Lee Westwood by 5 strokes. Knowing that he needed to make a move, Phil locked in and hit the green in two. He drained the eagle putt and now was only 3 strokes off the lead. The crowd went absolutely nuts and Phil was locked in. The par 4 14th, has a very tricky and undulating green. But when you start feeling it, it doesn’t matter where the pin is. The pin was in the back of the green, about 15 ft to the right of a giant ridge that runs though the middle of the green. The ball landed 10 feet to the left of the pin and just made a right turn. No blinker or even a hand signal. Just a good ol’ Cross-Bronx expressway cut-off.
You would have thought that a fighter jet had just taken off, but that was the sound of the crowd roaring as the ball went right into the clowns mouth. With arms raised and fists pumped, Phil walked up to the green with a hero’s welcome. 2 eagles in a row, 4 strokes shaven off the lead. At the same time, Ian Poulter was 3 holes behind Phil, but had to back away from his putt as he could hear the roar of the crowd (Of course he missed the putt). You could just sense that you were witnessing something special.
The par-5 15th was up next. Phil was licking his chops. As he stood over his 3rd shot, you knew this was going to be close. With his sand-wedge as his tool of choice, he fired right at the stick. One bounce. 2 bounces. Left turn. Right across the cup. It was almost like the crowd was disappointed that it hadn’t gone in. Phil’s tap-in birdie moved him to 12-under par, and into the lead.
That 3 hole stretch might have been the greatest in major golf history. He was in the Zone. One stroke behind Lee Westwood going into the final round, Phil is easily the favorite. Westwood sits at 12-under, Phil at 11-under and Mr. Entitlement and K.J. Choi are at 8-under. It’s going to the a great final round. Let’s go Phil!