The 25-year-old left-hander from Arizona began the final round in third place, and that's where he ended, with his second straight 72. Mickelson finished 6-under, six strokes behind Nick Faldo and one behind Greg Norman. He tied for 46th as a Masters rookie in 1991, tied for 34th in 1993 and tied for seventh last year.
"When I had opportunities to get it going, it just stalled the last three days," said Mickelson, who opened the tournament with a 65.
What did Mickelson think of Norman's final-round collapse to a final round 78?
"It's hard for me to imagine that," Mickelson said. "I feel for him in the sense that it's going to be tough dealing with the media. My heart goes out to him."
One stroke back of Mickelson was Frank Nobilo, a New Zealander who closed with a 69. Scott Hoch and Duffy Waldorf tied for fifth, while Davis Love III gained a share of seventh with a 68.
No. 12 nicks Norman
Norman continued his adventures at No. 12, the 155-yard par-3 over Rae's Creek.
On Friday, his tee shot nearly rolled into the water. It did in the third round Saturday, when he took a penalty stroke but still made a neat bogey. His six-stroke lead had completely vanished by the time he got there yesterday, and with the pin cut back right, he pushed his 7-iron once again into the bank and then the water.
Norman double-bogeyed, and it was the second-worst score of the day on No. 12. Scott Simpson took a six.
Faldo walked onto No. 12 tied for the lead, left it with a two-stroke advantage, and never looked back, becoming the seventh man to win the Masters three times. Jack Nicklaus has six titles, Arnold Palmer four, and Gary Player, Jimmy Demaret and Sam Snead are the other three-time winners.
How much does Faldo get up for the majors? Three of his five wins on the PGA Tour have come in the Masters.
Faldo's earlier Masters wins came in sudden death, against Scott Hoch in 1989 and Raymond Floyd in '90.
Floyd had a hole-in-one on No. 16 yesterday, leading to a 4-over finish that made him the top Senior finisher. It was his first ace ever at Augusta National Golf Club.
"I aimed at the TV tower," Floyd said of a 5-iron from 182 yards that he didn't see go in because of a bank that blocked his view. "It got closer and closer, teetered and teetered. I saw beer, sodas and sandwich wrappers go flying [in the gallery]. That's when I knew it went in."
Pub Date: 4/15/96