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Mickelson out at Match Play, heading to Augusta

AUSTIN, Texas -- Phil Mickelson's match with Jason Day on Friday was meaningless, with both players finishing out the tournament before clearing out of Austin Country Club.

But Mickelson was already looking at the bright side -- he was headed straight to Augusta National and the home of the Masters.

"I'm going to go there now," Mickelson said after defeating Day 2 up on the third day of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. "I'm going to spend the next three or four days there and I'm looking forward to it. It's the greatest week of the year, it's the best week, best tournament.

"I'm excited to get there and spend time."

Mickelson said he had planned to be at Augusta National on Monday and Tuesday regardless, and that getting bumped from the Match Play event after going 1-2 is easier to take knowing he's headed to the place where he has won the Masters three times.

The Masters is April 11-14. Mickelson said he would return to his San Diego home after practicing for a few days before going back for tournament week.

"That's why I've enjoyed this match play if things don't [go] well,'' he said. "So it works out. I get an extra day or two there.''

Mickelson, 48, who is ranked 21st in the world, has struggled since earning his 44th PGA Tour victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am in February.

Since then, he tied for 37th at the Genesis Open, tied for 39th at the WGC-Mexico Championship, and missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship.

This week, he lost to Henrik Stenson 2 and 1 and to Jim Furyk 1 up before Friday's victory over Day.

"This has been a good week to find out what I'm doing well, what I need to work on,'' Mickelson said. "I now have 10 days, 11 days to work on it. That's the good thing that comes out of these matches. Plus you have the intensity of a final round every time you tee off. It's not like it's a third day in a regular tournament. You've got to play well to win, so you can really find out what areas you need work.

"I certainly would like to have had some better finishes and go in there with some momentum, but the fact is I've been playing well for the most part this year. I had some good things this week come about and started to putt well again. I haven't putted to the level that I've been the last few years, and so that's starting to turn.

"And my [swing] speed is up. I'll go have a good work week, really maximize my speed and see if I can hit it long and far at Augusta and hopefully straight."