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Omens good for Mickelson as he mounts Masters defence

| 04.04.2011

Phil Mickelson can give old sparring partner Tiger Woods a double blow by winning the Masters at Augusta this week.

A victory for the popular American will see him join Woods on four Masters titles and it could also see him reach the No.1 spot in the world rankings for the first time in his career.

Mickelson is now ahead of Woods in the rankings for the first time since the 1997 Masters and can be backed at 7/1 to win one of the most prestigious titles in golf.

The omens are certainly good for Mickelson. When Mickelson won the green jacket in 2006, he won the previous week in the BellSouth Classic in Atlanta – a feat he can repeat this year having won the Shell Houston Open at the weekend.

The world No.3 won by three shots from Chris Kirk and Scott Verplank after finishing with an impressive 65 to record a 20-under-par aggregate of 268.

Mickelson admitted a few lapses in concentration during his victory, but is convinced the problems can be ironed out on the immaculate Augusta fairways.

He said: “It re-energises me every time I go there. I get excited with the game and fall in love with the game again and again. It reminds me how much I dreamt as a kid of playing there, of competing and winning majors and winning golf tournaments.”

There has been much talk of the European challenge this year, but with an American winning the green jacket 56 out of the 74 times the tournament has been played, Mickelson looks like an even more enticing prospect.

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Richard Anderson