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May 3 2012

7:35 PM

Mickelson one ‘hot round’ away

Interview: Phil Mickelson

Following his opening-round 71, Phil Mickelson meets with the media and talks about his play and what could have been.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It was a good news, not-too-bad news kind of day for Phil Mickelson.

Yes, he tripled the fourth hole, his 13th of the day, when his tee shot strayed out of bounds. But Mickelson managed to remain in red numbers when he made a 3-footer for birdie at the eighth hole and the soon-to-be World Golf Hall of Famer is comfortable with his position.

"It was a good way to finish there with a birdie on 8 and to just not shoot myself out of it," said Mickelson, who will be inducted into the Hall on Monday in St. Augustine, Fla. "It wasn't the great round I was hoping for, but again, it's right there where if I can get a hot round, I'll get right in it.”

Mickelson, who calls Quail Hollow tee to green "one of the best courses I've ever seen," has a scoring average of 70.28 here since 2003. Ten of his last 20 rounds on the course have been in the 60s, including a 66 in the second round last year.

Mickelson teed off No. 10, birdied the 11th and proceeded to hit every green on his first nine. He made birdie putts of 17 and 16 feet on Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, to get to 3 under but couldn't quite coax it home.

"The putter felt great," Mickelson said. "I didn't make every one, but I'm rolling them on my line. They're very tough greens to read because there's a lot of roll to them, so you might get a little bit of double break or a little influence one way at the ball, a little influence the other way at the hole, and they're challenging, and I thought I hit a lot of good putts, and some in the middle of the round went in."

Mickelson said he wasn't "overly concerned" to be back in the pack. He's played in the Wells Fargo Championship eight times and has six top-10 finishes, including second in 2010 when Rory McIlroy closed with a 62 on Sunday to overtake him.

"I'll come out here tomorrow afternoon and see if I can shoot something mid 60s and get right in it for the weekend," Mickelson said. "We've seen with McIlroy in 2010, the guy who makes the cut on the number can still win this tournament. It's not something I'll stress about. It was actually an encouraging round in that I felt like I hit a lot of good shots."

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