By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- As Webb Simpson finished the final hole of his U.S. Open title defense, Phil Mickelson was about to tee off in the final group of the day.
What a difference a year makes. Simpson walked over to Mickelson and his playing partner Hunter Mahan, who trails the big lefthander by one.
"I just told him to go out there and have fun and hopefully one of those guys can win it," Simpson said. "But a lot of the guys at the top I know well and I'm not really pulling for anybody in particular. But I told them to go have a good day and hopefully they play well."
Simpson, who closed with a 72 that included a string of three straight birdies, said he thinks Mickelson is playing so well he will be tough to beat. Not to mention, Mickelson already has five runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open so he's been in the hunt before.
"I don't think many guys could have flown overnight and played as well as he did the first round, but I know it would mean a lot for him to win," Simpson said. "I think this is the one that he really wants. So hopefully he plays well, and I think it's going to be tight until the end no matter what."