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Sixteen? Driving lessons

Errors off the tee on the par-3 hole prove costly to Duval and Mickelson.

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001



Graphic:

Not-so-sweet 16

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- When the ball left his club, David Duval thought for an instant he might have an ace. It was hit so pure, and right at the flag. Then it did the unexplainable. It bounced over the green.

Phil Mickelson knew his shot was not nearly so good. But the result was just as fatal.

The 16th hole at Augusta National proved to be pivotal in the final outcome at the Masters. Tiger Woods parred the hole, and his closest pursuers lost crucial strokes.

"To be perfectly honest with you, I thought I might have made a 1," Duval said. "You just don't fly the ball 190 yards with a 7-iron. That hurt, obviously, to make a 4 there."

Duval, who shot 5-under-par 67 and put the heat on Woods from the outset with a front-nine 32, was coming off a birdie at 15 that tied him for the lead. Then came the tee shot at 16, a par 3 that Duval said required 176 yards to carry the front bunker.

"I can't stand out there and hit an 8-iron," he said. "Everybody would call me an idiot if I did. You have to cover that bunker. I don't want to say it's untimely to hit such a good shot. (But) if I missed it just a little bit, it would have turned out better."

Duval was unable to get up and down for par, falling a shot behind Woods, who birdied the 18th for his two-shot victory.

Mickelson also will look back at 16. He had pulled within a shot of Woods after making birdie on15.

"Sixteen was a real killer because I finally got within a shot, and I needed to step up and make a really good swing there and attack that pin and make a birdie," said Mickelson, who shot 70 and finished three shots back. "I pulled a 7-iron up on that slope and it was a very disappointing shot. I needed to put some pressure on and have at least a good birdie opportunity."

Mickelson two-putted to fall two shots behind Woods, whose tee shot on the hole rolled some 30 feet below the cup. He two-putted for par to keep the advantage he would never relinquish.

Not-so-sweet 16

LENGTH: Played at 183 yards.

STROKE AVERAGE: 2.957.

RANK: 11th.

DAMAGES: Phil Mickelson and David Duval made bogey 4 Sunday after teeing off with 7-irons. Duval, tied with Tiger Woods, pulled his approach left and long, chipped 8 feet past the hole and missed his par putt. Mickelson's approach hit the green, but the ball rested on a ridge above the hole. His first putt slid about 7 feet past the hole, and he missed the comebacker for par.

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