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April 6, 2012

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Yesterday you mapped out your strategy pretty much about what you wanted to do today.  Looked like that worked pretty good for you?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I played well and shot something in the 60s that got me back in the tournament.  I was hoping for one or two more under, but that birdie on 18 felt terrific to finish that way.  And to be only 3 back now heading into the weekend feels great, too.  Especially after the first ten holes yesterday.

Q.  Phil, on 9 you went over and hugged somebody.  It looked like maybe some good mojo because you got hot after that?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Yeah, my dad was over there and Bob Diamond and Patrick, some friends of mine, they seem to give me some good luck.

Q.  What was the biggest difference, though, between yesterday and today as far as your score?
PHIL MICKELSON:  The biggest thing for me was strategically I didn't miss the ball in the wrong spot.  If I got into some trouble or hit some poor shots, they are on the proper side where I could still get up‑and‑down and let my short game salvage strokes, which I did fairly well today.
Even though I felt like I just flushed it, I strategically missed the ball in the proper spot and was able to salvage a lot of pars.

Q.  I know you are happy with the birdie on 18.  What about 17?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Again, if I miss, I drove in the trees.  If I miss it long left, I'm coming back to that pan, I can get close.  I felt like if I was short and had to deal with the bunker, I was going to have a tough time.
Again, I put the ball in the right spot to where I can ‑‑ although I had to make a 12‑footer.  I should have been able to get that putt closer.

Q.  A lot is made about Sundays here at Augusta.  I was talking to Rick Smith about how much he loves Saturdays.  Can you talk a little bit about that?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I feel like Saturday is the day you can really make a move.  Sunday you kind of cherish the back nine and it's exciting, but I feel like Saturday is the day you have got to play well to get yourself in position.
Tomorrow will be a critical day.  It will be a critical day to get myself in a spot where I don't have to make you up too much ground from the leaders.

Q.  Can it be fast and firm for tomorrow or is it still ‑‑
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, it's supposed to dry out.  There's not supposed to be any rain.  I mean, it's possible if they turn that Sub Air on.  Right now the greens are so soft you can just fly a ball right to the hole and have it stick.  It's letting guys get away with not having to have the right angles.  You don't have to now strategically be on the right side of the fairways or have the right angles in the pins because balls are not releasing on the greens.  They are just sticking.

Q.  Are there as many mud balls as there were yesterday?

Q.  17, how good was that from where you were?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It wasn't that hard of a shot, to be honest.  I should have hit it a lot better.  I missed it pretty bad to be where I was at.  I had a pretty good gap through the trees.  I felt like I could get close, but I kind of thinned it a little bit.

Q.  Have the conditions affected at all how you've played the par 5s?  Have you been able to go for them in two?
PHIL MICKELSON:  13 and 15, yeah, no problem.  Been going for those.
Usually 2 or 8 is reachable, but not both because of the wind.  Because they go opposite directions, usually one will be reachable and the other one won't.

Q.  (Inaudible) was just saying when he sees you putting at Augusta, it's like you are taking a stroll in the park.  Is that how you feel when you play this course?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I do love playing here.  I do feel like ‑‑ I do feel relaxed and I do feel like I can get away with some loose swings, which is a nice feeling.

Q.  Did you watch your position?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Are you kidding me?  After yesterday's round I love it.  To be only three back with 36 to go, there's a lot of time left and there's a lot of birdies out there and I get to slide off before the leaders.  If I make a move, they get to see those numbers being posted ahead of them, and that's not always easy.

Q.  No jungle today either, right?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, nothing like 10 yesterday.  No.  I hit it a lot better and drove it a lot better, hit some good iron shots.
But I'm putting really well.  I mean, I'm really putting well.  You haven't heard me say that in a while.  And look at my ‑‑ if I look at one stat, the one putting stat that really seems to make a difference, it's that new one they have regards to strokes gained and I'm really high up on that.  It's been a really good year putting and I feel great on these greens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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