PGA Tour

Mickelson seeking momentum

Phil Mickelson (AFP)
Phil Mickelson (AFP)

Memphis - Phil Mickelson, trying to complete a career golfing grand slam by winning next week's US Open, makes his final preparations for the major showdown at this week's St. Jude Classic.

Reigning British Open champion Mickelson has finished second at the US Open a record six times.

He'll return to Pinehurst, where he was second to the late Payne Stewart in 1999, on the heels of this $5.8 million US PGA event at TPC Southwind.

"This week is when I have to put it together and play well," Mickelson said.

"If I can play well, get in contention, it will give me some momentum for the Open. That's what I need to do."

Mickelson will be grouped for the first two rounds with defending champion Harris English and Scott Stallings in an all-American trio that starts early Thursday and on Friday afternoon.

Hanging over Mickelson in this crucial week is his being part of an FBI investigation into insider stock trading involving investor Carl Icahn and gambler Billy Walters.

Mickelson says he has fully cooperated with investigators, denies any wrongdoing and says the probe will not be a distraction as he bids for a career grand slam, having already claimed three Masters green jackets and a PGA Championship title as well.

Mickelson has yet to crack the top 10 in 14 starts this season while English won at Mayakoba and Stallings took the title at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Stallings and Mickelson shared second behind English last year at St. Jude.

Also hoping some winning ways rub off will be 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who will play alongside J.B. Holmes, a winner this year at Charlotte, and Russell Henley, who captured this year's Honda Classic.

Webb Simpson, who won the 2012 US Open, will be playing alongside Dustin Johnson, the 2012 St. Jude champion, and Patrick Reed, who was fifth at last year's St. Jude Classic and has gone on to win three times since then.

This will be Reed's first tournament since the birth of his daughter.

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