Hanson draws on Mickelson vibe for early run

By Simon Evans

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Sweden's Peter Hanson fed off the crowd's energy as they cheered on his playing partner Phil Mickelson to post a 68 in the first round of the Masters on Thursday.

While three-times winner Mickelson endured an erratic day but ended well to post a two-over 74, Hanson finished tied for second place with South African Louis Oosthuizen on 68, a shot behind leader Lee Westwood.

"I kind of walked pretty close to Phil through all of these tight, roped areas, in between greens and tees.��Kind of just enjoying it," said Hanson. "The crowd, they love Phil, and I can pretty much understand why, being such a fantastic player and having won here three times.

"So it was kind of nice to get a little bit of that.��Even if it was not meant for me, I was kind of taking it on a bit and I enjoyed it," he said.

A four-times winner on the European Tour, Hanson has never won in the United States but he is focused on staying in contention at Augusta.

"I think my biggest challenge for the next three days is going to stay in the same mental presence I did today, keep playing aggressive.

"It's kind of a scary golf course in one way, because you don't have to put your foot too much wrong to end up making bogeys or doubles. I will just try to be aggressive and go out there and enjoy the moment on Friday, as well, playing with Phil again, and so I'm looking forward to that," he said.

The Swede is enjoying a good run of form in the United States. He reached the quarter-final stage of the Accenture Match Play Championship and was joint fourth at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.

His best result in a major came at last year's U.S. Open at Congressional where he placed seventh and after missing the cut at the Masters last year he said he still had to get used to the challenges of Augusta.

"I love the U.S. Open. I think that was the kind of golf course that sets up the best for my kind of game.

"I need to get a bit more comfortable around the greens here, chipping and maybe learn a little bit from Phil and Ollie (Jose Maria Olazabal) and the guys that are really good at that kind of game.

"But I feel I'll slowly get better and better, and hopefully I can feel comfortable out here on Friday".

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)