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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona - Two-time champion Phil Mickelson has challenged himself to regain his putting touch when he returns to familiar surrounds for this week's Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale.
Mickelson, who attended the nearby Arizona State University, has been frustrated after striking the ball well in his first three PGA Tour events this year without making the most of his opportunities on the greens.
"It takes a lot of momentum out of you when you keep hitting it to eight, 10, 12 feet and you keep missing the putts," the world No 3 told reporters in the build-up to today's opening round.
"I'll get that turned around. I know that when I got it turned around last year things started falling in place. I don't feel like it's far off," said the American, who has finished 19th, joint 45th and tied for eighth in his first tournaments of the season.
Asked to assess his first three weeks on the 2010 PGA Tour, Mickelson replied: "They weren't what I had hoped for. But they gave me a good idea of what I need to work on for the near term and the rest of the year. I'm starting to hit the ball very well."
The popular golfer has long relished the closing stretch on Scottsdale's Stadium Course, which features the infamous par-three 16th, the noisiest hole in golf. Thousands of spectators cram into the bleachers, sky boxes and grass bank surrounding the 162-yard hole.
Others competing at the TPC Scottsdale include British world No 5 Ian Poulter and eighth-ranked German Martin Kaymer. - Reuters