Phil Mickelson is rounding into Masters form at the right time

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Just when you thought Phil Mickelson's game wasn't ready to attack August National next week, he goes out and reels everybody back in with a brilliant round. After posting back-to-back 70's on Thursday and Friday, Mickelson said he needed to go "really low" to get back in contention at the Shell Houston Open.

He did just that in the third round, trying the course record with a nine-under 63 that included nine birdies and not a single bogey on the card. The erratic Phil we saw off the tee for the last couple of weeks was nowhere to be seen, as Mickelson hit 17 of 18 greens en route to one of the best rounds of the season.

"It really feels good to get a good round under my belt," Mickelson said after his round. "The last thing I've been struggling with is keeping my attention on the shot I want to hit throughout the swing, and I was able to do that today."

Hey, you can't blame him for having his mind on other things, especially with Augusta looming next week. He would have always been a contender at the Masters -- he already has three green jackets in his closet -- but his round on Saturday ensured that he'll go into next week as the favorite, even though 2011 has been a roller coaster year.

After finishing second in his first event of the year at Torrey Pines, Mickelson produced a mixed bag of results. It led a lot of people, myself included, to wonder if he was up to the challenge of defending his Masters title.

While it's one good round, you could see a lot of things clicking for Mickelson on Saturday, leading you to believe his game is rounding into form at the right time. He still has one round left in Houston, but the way things are going, it looks like one of golf's big superstars will definitely be in the mix at Augusta.

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