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US Masters 2011 - Phil Mickelson favourite

Bettingpro Staff 4 Apr 2011

Phil Mickelson feels he is in perfect shape to repeat last year's win at The US Masters after warming up with victory at the Shell Houston Open and bookmakers certainly agree by making the American favourite for Augusta glory.

Lefty closed with rounds of 63 and 65 over the weekend to prevail by three strokes and secure his 39th PGA Tour triumph at just the right time to boost his hopes of picking up a fourth green jacket, having also landed The Masters in 2004 and 2006.
"It feels really good for me to have played well and to gain some momentum heading into next week," said Mickelson. "It feels a lot like '06 in that I needed to have a week where I kind of put it together.

"By that I mean I've been saying all year I'm playing well but I'm not getting the scores out of it, and I'm having just kind of a lapses of focus. This was one of the best weeks I've had in a long time as far as seeing the shot and being able to hit it. So, it was a great week in that regard and great for getting momentum heading into next week.

"Each player, as an individual golfer, has to find out what's best for them to prepare for a big event. And I find that I tend to play my best in a Major Championship when I compete the week before. It gets me into a competitive frame of mind, and I enjoy the challenge of only having three days between competitive rounds.
 
"So that for me personally works. But I know that Nicklaus and a lot of guys prefer to have the week off and kind of focus in on that one particular golf course and those shots. I understand that. There's an argument both ways. As a player, you have to find out what works best for you as the individual.

"I certainly have a lot more confidence heading in, because the one area that I've been not doing as well as I usually do, is seeing a shot, visualising a shot, being able to hold that picture throughout the swing and execute - I started to do it much better this weekend.

"I look back in '06. I think it's nothing but a plus to be able to gain some momentum, especially given that I haven't had the results and the scores that I wanted to earlier in the year. So it just gives me a little bit of momentum."
Mickelson has only failed to make the top 10 in The Masters once in the last 12 years and admits he cannot wait to return to Augusta after spending some time practising there at the start of last week.

"It re-energizes 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," said the world No 3.
 
"Every time I walk the grounds now, having won there, I've looked backed about some shots I've hit or some players in the past hit. It creates an excitement level for the game of golf.

"There's always a bunch of guys that can win that tournament. It's wide open. There's a lot of players that can do it. But I certainly like the way that I play the golf course, and I'm very pleased with the way my game is coming round."

As for the betting on this year's first Major, Mickelson has now leapfrogged Tiger Woods at the head of the market and is very much seen as the man to fear by bookmakers.

"Mickelson's Houston victory ensures he will head to Augusta as clear favourite to retain the Masters, but by contrast, Tiger Woods remains friendless with punters, and for the first time in a decade does not head the betting for the season's opening
Major," said Coral's David Stevens.

Darren Haines, spokesman for Paddy Power, added: “Form is very important in golf but with the US Masters you simply cannot ignore Augusta pedigree. As such, this year’s Masters could well be a battle between Mickelson and the Europeans.”


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US Masters 2011 - Phil Mickelson favourite

Phil Mickelson feels he is in perfect shape to repeat last year's win at The US Masters after warming up with victory at the Shell Houston Open and bookmakers certainly agree by making the American favourite for Augusta glory.

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