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Mickelson gets hot under the collar at charity event

Phil Mickelson was in a good mood when he came into the clubhouse.

He had just shot a terrific round on an easy course at the Fred Meyer Challenge, a low-pressure charity tournament.

Walking up the 18th fairway, Mickelson waved to a group of fans in the grandstand after they yelled, ``How's the baby?'' in reference to his daughter Amanda, born the day after the U.S. Open two months ago.

But Mickelson's demeanor quickly changed when he was asked about the lingering controversy over whether Ryder Cup players should be paid.

During the PGA Championship earlier this month, American team captain Ben Crenshaw angrily picked out Mickelson, along with David Duval, Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara as players who wanted a say in how the PGA of America spends its profits from the Ryder Cup.

``I did not say anything to the media. I did not say a word,'' Mickelson said Monday. ``I didn't say what my views were. All Ben said was he was disappointed in me. That was a confidential meeting. He was out of line.

``And you'll have to ask him why he was disappointed in me.''

Before his pointed comments, Mickelson was happier discussing his opening round at the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club west of Portland. He made an eagle on No. 5 and seemed to gain momentum as the day wore on and the temperature climbed near 90 degrees.

Mickelson and teammate Jay Haas finished at 11-under-par 61 to grab a share of the lead in the $1 million best-ball tournament. Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon had an eagle on No. 16 and a birdie on 17 to also finish 11 under.

``Phil really played a great round of golf,'' Haas said. ``He only fell asleep on a couple of holes, and I just happened to be there. It was a relaxed day for me. I was just cheering him on.''

Three teams were tied for second at 10-under 62: Billy Mayfair and Steve Pate, Craig Stadler and Steve Elkington and Brian Henninger and Tim Herron. Mayfair and Pate had an eagle on 15, then made three birdies to complete the round.

Arnold Palmer and tournament founder Peter Jacobsen, teammates for all 14 years of the tournament, were last at 4 under heading into today's final round.

Andrade, angry after missing a 4-foot birdie putt on 15, eagled the par-5 16th. He hooked his drive, but it gave him a good look at the flag. He used a 4-iron to get onto the green, and made a 30-foot putt to pull to 9 under.

``I had to redeem myself on that putt at 16,'' Andrade said.

On the par-5 15th, Mickelson's second shot landed about 8 feet from the cup, and he made the eagle putt to go 10 under.

Mickelson's first eagle came on an 18-foot putt on the par-4, 305-yard fifth hole.

On 16, Mickelson's drive landed just in the right rough, and his second shot went screaming toward a crowded tent to the left of the green before it curled right, bounced and rolled to the fringe above the hole. His chip for eagle was a few inches to the right, and he tapped in for birdie.

``We were both putting for birdies on most of the holes, and we capitalized on a good number of those,'' Mickelson said.

AP