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Phil Mickelson optimistic about season finale

Phil Mickelson has a spring in his step as the 2008 PGA Tour regular season enters its final eight weeks with a clutch of high-profile events on the schedule.

The American world number two has clinched two titles on the U.S. circuit this year and would dearly love to add a few more to his bulging trophy cabinet.

“I’m excited about the next eight weeks,” Mickelson told reporters at Firestone Country Club on Wednesday as he prepared for the opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

“We have a great finish for the season and I love all of these tournaments. I love the golf course here in Akron and I love the (next week’s) PGA Championship. Oakland Hills is such a great track.

“We’ve got the Ryder Cup and the FedExCup events. All these events are just huge finishing the year. I’ve got a new-found energy, I’ve been practicing hard and I’m excited.”

Mickelson has yet to win one of the prestigious World Golf Championship events but he has come close at the Bridgestone Invitational with top-10 finishes in his first four appearances.

“This is one of my favorite tournaments,” the three-times major winner said. “It has been historically throughout my career. I love the way the course is set up.

“I have not played as well as I would have liked to in this event the last few years and I’m determined to try to change that this week.”

Although known for his magical short game, left-hander Mickelson says his form on and around the green has let him down over the last month.

“I’ve spent a lot of time chipping and putting this last week,” the 38-year-old said. “I believe my short game is getting back to where I want it to be and I expect to have a good week.

Asked why his short game had failed him, the 34-times PGA Tour winner replied: “I don’t know. Maybe more time (spent) on ball-striking. But I feel pretty good about it now so I expect to do well around the greens.

“The way the course is set up, there’s a lot of skill involved around the greens because you can hit shots out of the rough and from off the edges. It’s a great setup.”

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the third and final WGC event of the year, starts on Thursday.


July 31, 2008

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