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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Mickelson in mood for third major
Phil Mickelson
Mickelson used two drivers during his dominant BellSouth display
In-form Phil Mickelson is aiming to be at least two shots ahead coming down the last in the Masters on Sunday.

The 2004 Masters and current USPGA champion says he is aiming for a stress-free third major victory.

"The goal is to improve my play and hopefully have a chance to walk up 18 and be able to experience the joy of knowing you're going to win," he said.

Mickelson says he will compete with two drivers and no sand wedge on the newly lengthened Augusta National course.

The 35-year-old, who won last week's BellSouth Classic by a massive 13 shots, had 17 top-10 finishes in majors before holing a big putt to beat Ernie Els to the green jacket two year's ago.

And last August he pitched to two feet to beat Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington to the PGA title.

Now he wants to go on and fulfil his promise of collecting "a bunch of majors" - hopefully starting with a comfortable victory on Sunday.

"I haven't had that," he explained. "I had to make a putt to win by one.

Have you seen how long that thing is? I don't know where I would ever hit a sand wedge there
Phil Mickelson on Augusta

"Winning the second one was big for me because it gave me not just the confidence, but the belief that it wasn't just a one-time highlight," Mickelson said.

"That's what I'm striving to do and hopefully if I can get that third somehow it will validate the way I'm preparing and my belief that I'm playing better golf."

Mickelson's confidence going into Augusta is well justified, as the Californian has been in the top 10 in each of the last seven years.

He concedes that the lengthening of the course - which has grown 155 yards since last year - suits his game.

"I think anybody can win," he said. "The reason I say that the course is so long now is that the long hitters used to be able to hit wedges into some of the pin placements and get it close.

"Now we're hitting mid-irons in, we can't get to those pins any more either. I think that it almost equalises it a little bit."

Explaining his decision to ditch his sand wedge in favour of a second driver, the left-hander said he simply had no need of the lofted club at Augusta.

"Have you seen how long that thing is? I don't know where I would ever hit a sand wedge there," he said.

"I decided I needed different distances and these drivers give me that," said Mickelson.

"I have a driver I hit a long way that draws and I have one that fades and stays in play."

Under the rules of golf, a player is not permitted to have more than 14 clubs in his bag during a round.

The 2006 Masters takes place from 6-9 April.




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