Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mickelson in Contention at Phoenix Open

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Phil MickelsonSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Phil Mickelson was locked in concentration over a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th, the some 20,000 onlookers mostly quiet on the amphitheater hole except a fan who screamed "Tiger would make it!"

Playing partner Bill Haas heard it, but Mickelson was oblivious to the slight, perfectly striking the putt that drew a thunderous cheer when it dropped in.

"It's Saturday of the Phoenix Open. It's always fun," Mickelson said. "There's a lot of people out here. I don't think there's a shot I wanted to make more, other than a major championship, than that putt on 16. I wanted to make that so bad.

"To see that go in with the crowd right there was a great feeling."

The birdie and another on the short par-4 17th helped Mickelson close within four strokes of leader Tommy Gainey halfway through the frost-delayed tournament.

"There's a lot of golf left," Mickelson said. "Even though it's Saturday -- it feels like it's the third round -- but we've only played two, so we're halfway through and to be within a few shots, it's where everybody is trying to get to."

 

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