Mickelson excited to be in the hunt

10 February 2018 05:54:36 EST

Phil Mickelson heads into the weekend at the AT & T Pebble Beach National Pro-am tied fifth and just three shots back of the lead.

The 47-year-old played a flawless second round 6-under-par 65 at Monterey Peninsula which left him 9-under for the tournament with two rounds at Pebble Beach to come over the weekend as he seeks to end a victory drought which stretches back to the 2013 Open Championship.

I love being in the hunt playing that golf course and I get to play two rounds there now it's fun.

Phil Mickelson

"It was a fun day and I love Monterey Peninsula," he said. "The fairways are wide and they feel pretty easy to hit. I hit a number of them and was able to make a lot of birdies.

"It's fun to be in the mix, it's fun to go over to Pebble Beach now and play two rounds on the weekend knowing that I have a chance and being in the thick of it."

Mickelson has made little secret of his desire to add to his tally of five major championships and 48 worldwide wins. Although it fuelled his winter break preparation for 2018, it failed to reap any reward until he finished fifth at last week's WM Phoenix Open.

"I was expecting to play like this so the first couple of weeks of the season were a little disappointing," he admitted. "But now the scores are starting to come out, I'm able to get out of the mechanics of it and just start playing the round and hitting shots.

"I have made it known that one of my goals is to get on the Ryder Cup team again and go to Paris and I need to get off to a good start. I'm very optimistic about this weekend and I'm optimistic about the year."

Mickelson is a four-time winner of this event, the last victory coming six years ago, and unsurprisingly he feels right at home on the Californian clifftops.

"I just love the feeling and the ambience of playing Pebble," he said. "I love being in the hunt playing that golf course and I get to play two rounds there now it's fun."

Mickelson is 300/1 to win the tournament outright and 23/20 to defeat Rory McIlroy in their third round two-ball.

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