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November 10, 2007

Phil Mickelson


Q. Another good round, yes, but a great finish once again.
PHIL MICKELSON: Thank you. I fought hard early in the round, I made a couple of birdies and bogeys and was back and forth for a while, but toward the end of the round I steadied it a little bit and had some good birdies coming in. It was a good way to finish, thank you.

Q. Now with a couple-shot lead going in tomorrow, you're absolutely where you would like to be in the tournament?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's always more enjoyable being in front than behind, but there are three great players right there. With Paul Casey's good round today he's only a couple back. And I played with Ross Fisher today, very solid player. And I think Kevin Stadler is in a great position where he's in the group in front of us where he could make a run. He's hitting the ball well and making some putts. You think it's going to be a tough day tomorrow, but certainly I would rather be in front than trying to make up ground.

Q. Of course, as per your own home tour, the US PGA Tour this doesn't have a tremendous amount of relevance, but this must be a field you would like to beat and have on your record book.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a strong field here at the HSBC tournament, and also, this is my first time in China, and I would love nothing more than to come out on top. But again, there's a lot of work to be done tomorrow. The golf course is playing very challenging with the wind. The greens are fast, and although they are putting perfectly true, the wind is so strong it's actually affecting approximate putts. So it's not an easy test and it should be a fun day tomorrow.

Q. And what's the best part of your game going into this final round?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I putted very well today. I made a lot of critical four-, five-, six-foot putts today and that was a big part of my score. Tomorrow I hopefully will have more birdie opportunities, which will be the goal to not have to fight for par as much.

Q. Can you tell us about 15?
PHIL MICKELSON: The putt on 15 is a putt I certainly don't expect to make. I tried to get it just feeding in from the right, from the correct side, but it was such a long putt, you can't plan on making those. And I was fortunate to see that one go in.

Q. You touched on it before about how you would like to win in China, your only professional victory outside of the United States was back in 1993; does that mean anything to you, and does would that make a victory tomorrow any better?
PHIL MICKELSON: It would mean a lot to me to be able to come out on top here in China for the first time. I plan on trying to play a little bit more on a more global basis, trying to add a couple more tournaments worldwide. And so I expect that I'll have more opportunities, or I hope to have more opportunities throughout international play.
But I think that China provides an opportunity for incredible growth in the game of golf, and I would love to have kind of an emotional tie, which winning the HSBC would bring.

Q. You mentioned Ross Fisher briefly early on; did you expect him to stay when you when you were making birdies and moving ahead a bit?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think he's a very solid player. I think he's got a great golf swing. And he hit a lot of solid shots and he made some good putts, some difficult putts that you need to make to be in contention and he was rolling them in. I think he's going to be a very difficult competitor tomorrow.
I think Paul Casey is obviously playing well. With the round he shot today, to shoot that many under par in this wind is a great round. It tells me that he's playing well. I played with him the first two days, and he was certainly striking it well.
So I think that it will be a difficult challenge, and with Kevin Stadler being in a good spot, where he can make a run, and it's tough, when you see guys making birdies, it's tough to follow suit because the golf course isn't playing that easy.

Q. Are you surprised you were able to mix leisure in and [] play good golf at the same time?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, I think it's important off the golf course to relax and to get your mind off the stress of trying to win championships. And to being able to see so many of the great things here in Shanghai, it's been a great way for me to relax off the golf course.
Right after the round yesterday, I hopped in a car and joined my family at the Shanghai Circus World, I believe it was, and saw the incredible artistry of the -- I'm not really sure what you would call it. It's kind of a Cirque du Soleil-type, I've never seen anything like it. So I've been able to see some incredible things here that the city has to offer. But nowhere near enough because it is really an amazing place.

Q. Are you more relaxed out here than you are back on the US Tour?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that it's similar. I think that it's similar because I want to play well, whether it's the States, whether it's here, I want to play well and I want to compete and I want to have a chance to win. To me that's what's fun. It's difficult to come this far, and not play well. It frustrating, because I feel like if I'm going to fly this far around the world, I want to play well and I want to have a chance to win.
So there's that pressure. But I also want to take advantage of the city, and so it's similar to the United States.

Q. What do you think of the local fans, the Chinese fans?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that the Chinese fans have treated me and all the players terrific. I'm excited to see that the game of golf is starting to gain interest here in China. I think that it would be great for the game of golf if we can get people here in China to take an interest in it because it's such a wonderful sport and it would mean a lot to the world of golf if it were to take off here in Asia.

Q. Tell me about a very good day.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, thank you. It was a fun day today. It was a challenging day with the wind. I thought it played very difficult. But early on it was an up-and-down day. I had a few birdies, a few bogeys but towards the end I played a little steadier golf and made some birdies coming in which was a nice way to finish the round.

Q. You couldn't ask to be in a better position, could you?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's a good spot to be in the lead because it's always easier when you're leading than trying to make up ground.
But, with that being said, there's some great players right behind me and it's going to be a difficult day tomorrow. Ross Fisher I played with today played very well; he's only two back. And Paul Casey I played with the first two days played such a good round today in this difficult wind that it's obvious he's playing well. So it's going to be a challenging day tomorrow.

Q. Challenging tournament, obviously when you have ten of the world's top 20, it's good to see that the creme does rise to the top like this.
PHIL MICKELSON: It is good to see that HSBC has brought world-class golf to China, and it's neat to see that people here in Shanghai and people here in China are taking an interest, because this is a great opportunity for the game of golf to gain some interest in a part of the world that can have a huge impact for the game.

Q. Your first visit here, what is your impression of playing golf among those galleries?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well this is my first time in China, the people have treated me and my family terrific. We have had such a great time in Shanghai, especially taking advantage of all of the cultural things the city has to cover. My kids have loved it. They have loved -- they have loved so much. Last night was probably their favourite thing, going to the Shanghai Circus World seeing all of the acrobats and artists there perform. It was incredible; we don't have anything like that in the States. The closest would be Cirque du Soleil in Vegas, but even this added so many more different elements from what we've seen there. It's been a fun stay for us.

Q. I must be stating the obvious, but must be incredible to come here and experience something other than the golf course?
PHIL MICKELSON: It is fun trying to be able to separate playing competitive golf and then off the course trying to take advantage of the sights and the city. It has been a wonderful educational opportunity for me and my family to experience Asia, to experience China for the first time.

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