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Devil Ball Golf

Five to watch at Augusta National – No. 2, Phil Mickelson

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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Phil Mickelson — Getty Images

These days it seems that the entire field, give or tack a past champion or two, have a chance at the green jacket. Gone are the days of Tiger, Vijay and Phil being the only contenders, but instead of listing them all, we've picked five we think have the best shot at the 2013 Masters (Check out who we ranked No. 5, No.4 and No. 3).

No. 2 -- Phil Mickelson

Major Championships -- 4

Masters appearance -- 20

Best Masters finish -- 1 ('04, '06 and '10)

Best finish on the PGA Tour in 2013 -- 1 (Waste Management)

What he has to do to win -- The best way to explain what Mickelson has to do this week is for him to just be Phil.

For some reason, good play or bad play coming in, Augusta National brings the best out in Mickelson. Of his last 14 starts, Phil has finished in the top-10 12 times, and of those 12 starts, seven were top-threes. Mickelson loves this golf course, loves the week, and loves the way he can shape the golf ball on these dogleg left holes.

The thing he needs to avoid is the big number. In 2012 Mickelson made two triple-bogeys over his four rounds and finished just two shots out of the playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen. If he can avoid the high number this week, he will be in the hunt come late Sunday evening.

The one key to Mickelson's game here is not being too aggressive with the putts. We've seen him really go after the short ones at times here when it wasn't necessary and it came back to doom him, so keeping it in perspective on the greens this week will be a big benefit to the three-time winner.

Also, the conditions appear to be playing right into his hands. The greens are receptive this week, and with the rain expected during the first two rounds it will take someone that isn't scared to fire at flags. That's Mickelson in a nutshell, and I really like his chances this week to add another green jacket.

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