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Mickelson closes in on McCarron

Associated Press

Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els skipped the BellSouth Classic to focus on the Masters. Not Phil Mickelson.

Tuning up for his Masters defense, Mickelson shot a 7-under 65 on Sunday to move within a stroke of leader Scott McCarron with one round to play in the rain-delayed BellSouth Classic in Duluth, Ga.

McCarron, the 1997 and 2001 winner at the TPC at Sugarloaf, shot his second straight 69 for a 6-under 138 total on the Greg Norman-designed course.

Mickelson, the No. 4 player in the world and a two-time winner this season, had the best round of the tournament as conditions improved with sun, temperatures in the low 60s and wind of 15-20 mph. He holed a 26-yard pitch for eagle on the 310-yard, par-4 13th, and had six birdies and a bogey in the round.

“I love playing the week before a major and I love how this tournament has set the course up as close to Augusta as possible,” Mickelson said.

Jose Maria Olazabal (69) and first-round co-leader Billy Mayfair (69) matched Mickelson at 5 under, and Arron Oberholser (68), Tag Ridings (68), Brian Bateman (68), Joey Snyder III (69) and Rich Beem (70) were 4 under.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen (69) was 3 under in a group that included defending champion Zach Johnson (66).

Olazabal had a 40 on the front, including a triple bogey on the 248-yard, par-3 eighth when he had a two-shot penalty. He shot a 29 on the back, including an eagle 2 on No. 13 when he chipped in from 15 yards and three straight birdies to end his round.

European tour

England’s Paul Broadhurst won the Portugal Open in Cascais, Portugal, for his first PGA European Tour victory in nearly 10 years, closing with a 4-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Scotland’s Paul Lawrie.

Broadhurst had a 13-under 271 total on the Oitavos course for his first win since the 1995 French Open. Lawrie, the 1999 British Open champion, finished with a 70. Portugal’s Jose Filipe Lima (70) was third at 11 under.

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