Two-time US Masters winner and world number two, Phil Mickelson, will be aiming to throw a warning to rival Tiger Woods as he prepares for Augusta at this weekend’s Houston Open.

Mickelson, who has won twice on the PGA Tour this season, says he is delighted with his form after victories at the WGC-CA Championship and the Northern Trust Open. “It feels great to have won because I know that I am playing some great golf heading in [to the Masters],” said Mickelson.

The Redstone Golf Club in Houston, as ever, will be set up to provide similar conditions to Augusta – and Mickelson is likely to face stiff competition in Texas with no fewer than 14 of the world’s top 20 joining him in the event.

After claiming his second Green Jacket in 2006 and his second Major title on the bounce following his 2005 USPGA win, the Californian’s form in the Big Four has slipped. He blew his chance to win the US Open at Winged Foot three years ago and his best return in Majors since was a tie for 5th at last year’s Augusta showpiece. But his early season form has stirred the challenge with his old rival Woods, and many are predicting happier times for a more focused ‘Lefty’ at the season’s first Major.

“I enjoy this process of competing, being in the final group, being tied for the lead, feeling the pressure, feeling that intensity and how important each shot is throughout the entire round. All of that adds to helping me play better in the Majors. It feels great because I am starting my Masters run to Augusta. This is all part of the process.”