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August 25, 2012

Phil Mickelson


Q.  Five birdies, you get off to a great start with a birdie at the first, and you've played yourself into contention here.
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a great day.  We'll see how the leaders do and whether I'm in striking distance or not but for me personally it was good to a good round in, putted well on the greens, hit a lot of good shots and starting to drive the ball well, so it was a great day to get some momentum.

Q.  How about the up‑and‑down at 17, kind of on the short‑side of that green there at the par317?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, it's actually where you want to miss it because you're hitting back up the slope.  It's much harder to be on the other side of the pin because it's straight downhill and very quick.  I felt like it was a good pin for me to attack.  Felt like if I could go right at it or miss where I did, I could go right up the slope.  It was a pretty simple bunker shot.

Q.  How about playing in front of these New York fans?  Oh, they love you.
PHIL MICKELSON:  I really do love Bethpage.  I love golf in this area.  This is a facility here with five courses that is so good for the game of golf.  It gives you a varying degree of difficulty and it makes golf fun.  You can challenge yourself, make it hard playing Bethpage Black like we are and there are some other courses that you can get around and enjoy the game, and I think a facility like this, a municipal, is terrific for the game of golf.

Q.  How impressive was that?
PHIL MICKELSON:  It was a good solid round that gave me some momentum.  I had a chance to get a couple more but for me I drove the ball well and I putted very well and I hit some good iron shots.  For me it built some good momentum after a day yesterday where I had lost a little bit of confidence.  So I was pleased with the way I hit it.

Q.  You said coming into this week that the driver was going to be the key to putting the ball in play; is that the confidence that you got from today?
PHIL MICKELSON:  I think it was.  I went to hitting a fade and a lot more fairways and I think that's a good key for me, maybe something I'll look at more in the future.  I hit a lot of good, hard cuts that hit the fairway and hit some good iron shots.  But more importantly, I made some putts and that was a nice feeling.

Q.  Does this feel anything like the Bethpage you saw two times before?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, it's very challenging tee‑to‑green.  Certainly the setup isn't as penalizing as the USGA sets it up.  This is setting up to be a perfect test where the best players are going to come to the top.  If you hit some great shots, you'll make birdies, but anything less than that, you won't.  I think it's a wonderful challenge and you'll see a big grouping of guys up on the leaderboard.

Q.  Do you do anything differently to prepare for the length of this course?
PHIL MICKELSON:  No, not really.  Just try to get a good feel for the course.  You know that you have to put the ball in the fairway because the front of the greens are all blocked, so you need to drive the ball fairly accurately.

Q.  What are your emotions on the Padres now?
PHIL MICKELSON:  Well, the sale gets completed at the end of August, August 31.  So they have kind of been asked to hold off.  There will be a press conference once it gets finalized but the sale isn't totally complete, even though they have been approved.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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