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Phil Mickelson to play more overseas

American Phil Mickelson intends to add more silverware from around the world to his trophy cabinet, after a successful first Asian adventure filled him with enthusiasm for more global travels.

The world number two won the five-million-dollar HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai on Sunday to capture just his second title outside of the United States.

The victory capped off a hugely enjoyable trip to Asia in both professional and personal terms for Mickelson, 37, who now wants to play more outside of the United States and take his young family with him.

"I think I will have more opportunities to win overseas because I plan on playing more," Mickelson said after sinking a birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with England's Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher to claim the title.

Mickelson played in Shanghai and the Barclays Singapore Open the previous week -- his first professional tournaments in Asia -- to test the waters about overseas travel following a career almost exclusively in the United States.

Before Sunday, Mickelson had won just one of his 33 professional titles outside of the United States, and that was 14 years ago in France.

He recently decided to play more around the world now that his three children -- aged four, six and eight -- were old enough to enjoy and learn from their overseas travels.

Following his two weeks in Asia, he appeared convinced his new strategy was the right one.

"This week and last week has been a very educational two weeks for my family," the three-time Major winner said.

"We've seen and learned so much about an entirely different culture than what we're used to, and we are appreciative of the way the people have treated us... and I hope to have a chance to do this more often."

Before the HSBC Champions, Mickelson took his family to Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China and other heritage wonders, while in Shanghai they did a lot more than just stay in their hotel rooms.

"I love the city. We had so much fun down at the Bund," he said, referring to Shanghai's landmark street of colonial-era buildings along the Huangpu river.

"We had some of the best meals, some of the best food. We had some of the best entertainment with the Shanghai Circus World... and then there were the gardens.

"We just loved the city and we certainly love the way the people treated us, and so we hope to be back."

Mickelson said he would like to defend his title next year, although he gave no definite confirmation.

And to add a little icing to the cake, Mickelson said he took some pleasure from the fact he had won in Shanghai where world number one Tiger Woods had failed to do in the previous two years, finishing runner-up on both occasions.

"It is nice to win a tournament that Tiger has tried to win the last couple of years unsuccessfully," he said.

However not everything went to script in Asia for Mickelson.

In Singapore, he played solidly in the first three rounds but then struggled with a virus and the city-state's warm tropical conditions to fire a 79 in the final round that left him well behind winner Angel Cabrera.


November 12, 2007

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