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With Amy in gallery, Mickelson thrives

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Amy Mickelson wasn't about to take any credit for the way her husband, Phil, has played the first two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open, but there's been an undeniable bounce in his step this week that seems to be more than just about him lurking three shots out of the lead in his PGA Tour season debut.

The reigning Masters champion followed up an opening 67 with a late-blooming 69 on Torrey Pines' North Course and at 8-under 136 trails Bill Haas by three, his best position in this event since he won back-to-back in 2000 and '01.

Watching every shot for the second day in a row was his wife, Amy, who is battling breast cancer. Amy hadn't been able to walk 18 holes with her husband since The Players in 2009, the week she got back her lab results that revealed she had cancer. "I still didn't think I had it," she recalls of that day.

Phil had indicated Wednesday that his wife was doing better, but Amy's presence on the golf course these last two days brought context to just how much better she feels despite ongoing therapy and medications.

"I missed being out here," she said Friday as she watched Phil play the par-3 third hole on the North Course. "I missed the people and the atmosphere and just being able to be here for Phil. It feels like things are getting back to normal again, as much as they can be, and we're definitely feeling like we have a good handle on things mentally, which always helps you physically."

As for any help she is providing Phil, she laughed and shook her head. "Oh, I don't know about that. He's been ready to play," she said. "Honestly, I stay out of all the golf stuff."

Said Phil: "It's been a lot of fun having Amy out here this week. She just looks terrific. After a year and a half, we're in such a better place, and it's a lot of fun having her out here."

-- Dave Shedloski

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