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Frustrating week for Lefty

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Phil Mickelson walked off of the 18th green in the final round of the Masters, knowing he had not done his absolute best to defend his crown as champion.

In particular, putting held Mickelson back.

“I struggled with the blade again today and it was a frustrating week, really, putting,” he said after finishing at 1-under par for the tournament. “I love these greens, I usually putt them very well, but I struggled this week.”

As the leaders were beginning their finish, Mickelson said the course was playing to allow a possible winner to emerge with birdies, not bogeys by others.

“The greens are receptive, the pins are in spots you can get to, and not much wind. So it was out there.”

And he knew a player had a chance to come from behind, particularly from experience in 2004.

“As we’re seeing, it’s very hard to sleep on the lead, it’s hard to come out and play aggressively when guys are chasing after you and you’ve got the lead.”

Mickelson will take a few weeks off, then play Quail Hollow and The Players. He’ll take a couple of family vacations in the meanwhile. Then he’s looking forward to getting back to competition.

“I’m excited about playing golf and finishing the year right. I feel like my game has been coming around and I’m looking forward to getting back out and competing.”

Note: Ryan Ballengee is a writer for NBCSports.com, read more of his blogs at ProGolfTalk