Classic stroll for Mickelson

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The Independent Online

Phil Mickelson coasted to one of the biggest wins in US Tour history at the BellSouth Classic last night.

As he says will be the case at the Masters this week, Mickelson carried two drivers and no sand-wedge in his bag as he marched to an incredible 13-stroke successful defence of the Atlanta title.

Eagling the last for a closing 65 and 28 under par aggregate of 260, the world number four beat the tournament record by five strokes and posted the third widest margin of victory on the circuit in over 50 years.

Jose Maria Olazabal, beaten by Mickelson in a play-off at the event last year, shared second place with 2004 winner Zach Johnson. Luke Donald, recovering from the shock of finishing his third round with a quadruple bogey nine, moved up to joint 10th on 10 under with a 66, while David Howell was 24th, Ian Poulter 42nd and Padraig Harrington 51st after a disappointing 75.

Explaining his choice of clubs, Mickelson said: "There's no sand-wedges at Augusta ­ have you seen how long that thing is?"

He spent last Monday and Tuesday practising on a course lengthened since last year to a massive 7,445 yards if all the new back tees are used. " I don't know where I would ever hit a sand wedge there," added the left-hander. "I've played it however many times the last few years and there's just no need."

Whenever he finds a bunker, Mickelson feels happy using one of his other wedges, while the two drivers are to help him shape different shots more easily.

Donald said: "Obviously Phil's playing great, but I might have got close to second but for that nine yesterday. I'm pretty pleased with how I played ­ it could have been even lower ­ and it's good for my confidence going into next week."

The Englishman was third on his debut at Augusta last year.

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