Mickelson wants a win before Masters


LOS ANGELES – Phil Mickelson is planning two trips to Augusta National before the Masters to get ready for the year’s first major.

Mickelson said he’ll scout the course in practice rounds on a trip the week of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral and then again in a trip before the Shell Houston Open.

With a 3-under-par 68 Sunday at Riviera Country Club, Mickelson was encouraged by how he closed the Northern Trust Open. It was his best round of the week (71-70-74-68). He says he's eager to play the Accenture Match Play Championship next week. He’s scheduled to meet Brendan Jones Wednesday in the first round.

“I’m really looking forward to the Match Play,” Mickelson said. “Every match is a Sunday of a tournament, and you’re tied for the lead. I feel like that may help me get a little over the hump.”

Mickelson, who will be playing his 11th Accenture Match Play, will be trying to advance deeper than the quarterfinals for the first time.

Mickelson believes his game is close to where he wants it to be before defending his title at the Masters in seven weeks. He’ll be seeking his fourth green jacket.

“I feel really good about where I’m at with the physical aspects of the game,” Mickelson said. “The body feels good, the swing feels good, putting and short game feels good, but I have to put it all together. I haven’t won since the Masters last year, and it’s just that last little piece.”

Still, Mickelson likes where his game is pointed compared to past preparation for Augusta National.

“I feel better about my game than I ever have with the one exception that I’d like to win,” Mickelson said. “There’s something to be said about winning a tournament and getting some confidence, being in contention on a Sunday and coming out on top. That’s nice before going to Augusta, although I didn’t do that last year and was able to win.”