By Larry Fine
AUGUSTA, Georgia, April 12 (Reuters) - Three-time champion Phil Mickelson found his scoring touch at the Masters, closing with a 69 for a runner-up showing that could herald a serious bid to complete his career grand slam at the U.S. Open in June.
Mickelson, whose last win came at the 2013 British Open, came alive at Augusta National and showed his electric potential by holing out from the sand for eagle at the par-five 15th and finished on 14-under-par 274 tied with England's Justin Rose.
Their best efforts could not stem the charge of 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who won his first major with a record-tying total of 18-under-par 270.
"I played a solid round, but I needed to play an exceptional round," said 44-year-old Mickelson. "Jordan didn't help any of us trying to catch him. He played an extremely solid round."
Big Lefty again showed his ability to rise at the biggest events as he registered his 10th second-place in a major and 11th top-five result in the Masters.
"I feel like this is the way I've been playing, but not scoring like this. This is the first week that I've got the score out of myself that I thought I should," the American said.
Mickelson posted four birdies along with his eagle, but gave back strokes with three bogeys, two of them on three-putts at the ninth and 14th.
"The fact is, I would have taken 14-under at the start of the week," he said. "I played really well to shoot 14-under and I just simply got outplayed by a young player who just played some incredible golf."
Mickelson, who slipped to 18th in world rankings during his title drought, has the 2005 PGA Championship to his credit and only needs a U.S. Open crown to complete the grand slam set and become the sixth player to win all four professional majors.
He has finished as U.S. Open runner-up an agonizing six times, most recently in 2013 at Merion behind winner Rose.
"I'll spend a little bit of time at Chambers Bay," said Mickelson of the site of this year's Open. "I'll go and see the course. I'll spend some time there, but really I'll be trying to get my game sharp heading into that week.
"I'll do that by playing Memorial and Memphis the two weeks prior, just like I did heading into here playing the two weeks prior."
(Editing by Gene Cherry)