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Lefty works to get match play right in Marana

Citizen Staff Writer



The other golf superstar warmed up the press for the main event Tuesday with hardly a notion that he might in the end steal the show.

Phil Mickelson, preceding Tiger Woods’ news conference, admitted that Accenture Match Play has not exactly been his finest hour.

In Marana, he was eliminated in the second round a year ago and in the first in 2007. His best-ever finish in such play was a tie for fifth in 2004 at San Diego.

But fortune actually doesn’t have far to turn to reverse for the nation’s No. 4 golfer, despite his drawing a strong-willed first-round foe in Angel Cabrera.

Mickelson, coming off a win last week in Los Angeles, has a quiet confidence and seems a little coy about his chances.

“There’s times I’ve headed into this event playing some of my best golf and just couldn’t pull through,” Mickelson said. “I’m going to need a little bit of luck.

“As we saw last week, I have had some hot rounds and I think I’ll be OK on those days.”

Notice that Lefty called it “days,” which means he might have a stealthy intention of bursting on Tiger’s scene.

The two could meet Saturday in the semifinals, the golf world’s dream.

Still, as Mickelson knows, the cold part of his game that he experienced last week in the Northern Trust Open could hit at the wrong time here.

He had to call in coach Butch Harmon for emergency service after Friday’s 72 round. He headed into Sunday’s final, fresh from a 62, with a four-stroke lead and once led by five. Mickelson lost the lead to Steve Stricker before recovering with birdies on No. 16 and 17 and won by one.

Mickelson’s main flaw seemed to be moving his left leg too much into the swing and going too far to the left.

Still, the win was the perfect tonic for Lefty.

“It feels great to be back in contention,” he said. “It feels great to be able to come through when I wasn’t hitting some of my best shots and still find it there in the end.

“I had a good session with Butch this morning trying to improve on it and build by game for the six weeks to Augusta.”

Mickelson knows how his bread is buttered and even though Woods steals his thunder, he is nothing but grateful.

“It’s pretty evident what he has done for the game of golf. . . . (Now) we are going to have more of a challenge winning tournaments, but also it will be more rewarding if we are able to win those.”

Coy Mickelson says he needs ‘a little luck’

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