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Phil Mickelson listed as heavy betting favorite for Champions debut

If you want to bet on Phil Mickelson to win in his PGA Tour Champions debut, be prepared to pay a steep price.

Mickelson turned 50 in June, and after failing to qualify for the BMW Championship he opted to enter this week’s Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National on the over-50 circuit. The 54-hole event begins Monday, and Mickelson is listed as a 2/1 betting favorite according to oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Steve Stricker has the shortest odds behind Mickelson at 8/1, while Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els are both listed at 12/1. Others in the field include Jim Furyk, Mike Weir, K.J. Choi and former PGA champ Rich Beem, who turned 50 on Monday.

Mickelson had waffled about his Champions aspirations in recent months, but given that he failed to advance to the BMW for the first time in the FedExCup era, he opted for an unexpected start in order to hone his game for next month’s U.S. Open.

“I didn’t really want two weeks off. I’ve been working hard on my game,” Mickelson said. “I want to get out and play, so this worked out really well.”

Mickelson will look to become the 20th different player to win his very first PGA Tour Champions start. Furyk pulled off the feat earlier this month, winning The Ally Challenge, while the next most recent example was Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2014.