With the Masters set to kick off on April 7, we celebrate the coming of the first Major of 2016 by revisiting the best of the best from days gone by.
Date: April 9, 2006
Phil Mickleson started the 2006 Major season the same way he ended it in 2005 – with a win. The course had been lengthened during the off-season, but that didn’t stop 18 different players from shooting at least 1-under, led by Vijay Singh’s 5-under 67. Day 2 saw the unlikely figure of Chad Campbell, who had only one Top 10 Major finish to his name, take the lead with a 7 of his own, jumping to 6-under with a three-stroke lead over Singh, Rocco Mediate, and Fred Couples.
Rain dampened the third round and significantly damaged Campbell’s campaign as he staggered to a 75. Mickelson, who had been four strokes back after two rounds, continued his methodical “slow and steady wins the race’ strategy, shooting his second 70 in three days to go with a 72 and climbing into the lead at 4-under, a stroke ahead of Campbell and Fred Couples. Tiger Woods, the defending champion, crept within two strokes of the lead.
On Sunday, Couples tied for the lead with a birdie on No. 1, and two holes in there were five players within a shot of the lead, including Woods at 3-under. Mickelson parred his first six holes in a row to keep at least a share of the lead, then birdied No. 7 and No. 8 to reach the turn with a two-stroke lead. He added another two birdies on 13 and 15 to reach 8-under, with only Jose Maria Olazabal making any sort of approach thanks to an eagle on No. 15 to get to 5-under.