BY the look of our Masters contest leaderboard plenty of you took our golf tipster's advice and backed Phil Mickelson pre-tournament.

The American was tipped up by Steven Clark at 12-1 and is now a biggest 6-4 (various) to put on the Green Jacket tonight.

Mickelson stormed round Augusta's back nine in 30 last night to close to within one shot of surprise leader Peter Hanson.

The Swede lies on nine-under 207 after a 65, one better than Mickelson's 66. Hanson is second favourite at 17-4 with bodog.

Three-time winner Mickelson is the man to beat and it will be interesting to see if Ryder Cup star Hanson crumbles under the pressure of trying to become Sweden's first Major winner on just his second visit to Augusta.

Having backed Mickelson at the start I'm faced with a decision. Do I pile more on Lefty or cover my bets on some of the other contenders?

I'm of the opinion Hanson won't stay on top so if it's not Mickelson's title it will go to one of a  handful of players within five shots of the lead.

Any one of those could come storming out of the blocks and put pressure on the leading duo with a couple of early birdies.

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen is one shot further back of Mickelson and the 2010 Open champion is 6-1 with Bodog, sportingbet and Ladbrokes. He's one I want on side if anything goes wrong with the favourite.

American duo Bubba Watson (17-2, sportingbet) and Matt Kuchar (20-1, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes) are six and five under par respectively while Lee Westwood (20-1), Hunter Mahan (25-1), Padraig Harrington (33-1) and Henrik Stenson (50-1) are in group on four under.

An each-way bet on Kuchar and Mahan could also be the way to go as either of them is capable of going low.

Rory McIlroy has drifted way out to 200-1 with bodog following a nightmare round which saw him crash out of contention.

The Northern Irishman was favourite after day two but with a 77 he fell from joint third to joint 27th and is 10 behind – but better placed than Tiger Woods who is two further back.

Anyway the main advice is to fill the fridge with beer in preparation for a thrilling finale. And keep a close eye on the in-running markets especially if you have backed Mickelson. Get ready to double up, twist or stick.

Leading tee-times

18.50: Francesco Molinari (Ita), Ian Poulter (Eng)

1900: Lee Westwood (Eng), Paul Lawrie (Sco)

1910: Padraig Harrington (Irl), Henrik Stenson (Swe)

1920: Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan

1930: Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Bubba Watson

1940: Peter Hanson (Swe), Phil Mickelson


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