Phil Mickelson tears up desert course, preps for Augusta

In the absence of You-Know-Who, the conventional wisdom was that Phil Mickelson would immediately ascend to the No. 1 spot in the world and would own golf. Conventional wisdom didn't reckon on Phil's propensity to fumble away gifts, however, and Mickelson has done nothing to inspire confidence in the early part of this season.

Nothing until now, that is.

Earlier this week, Mickelson played the Plantation Golf Club near Palm Springs in Indio, California to prep for Bay Hill. He played a casual round Monday morning, stopped for lunch, then decided to go for another nine.

According to club officials, Mickelson shot a seven-under 29 on those nine, and after birdieing the next two holes, decided to play it out. And he equaled his front-nine score, finishing with a course-record 58.

And he's rolling now at Bay Hill, having finished his Friday round at -5 to go to -6 overall. That puts him one stroke behind the leaders, Ben Curtis, Davis Love III and DJ Trahan.

It's way too early to say Phil is ready for Augusta, but his play so far this week has been as good as anything we've seen out of him this year. He seems to thrive when he makes things hardest on himself.

Along those lines, he mentioned that it would be "great" to play with Tiger Woods at Augusta. Confident? Delusional? You make the call.

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