Masters leader Hanson prefers home over hype

AUGUSTA, Georgia Sat Apr 7, 2012 8:17pm EDT

1 of 2. Peter Hanson of Sweden celebrates sinking a birdie putt on the 17th green during third round play in the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble

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AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Sweden's Peter Hanson enjoyed a classic Masters television moment en route to his superb seven-under 65 on Saturday but says he will be steering well clear of his flat screen before the final round.

Hanson will bid to become the first European golfer to win the Masters since 1999 after his cool and confident play gave him a one-stroke lead over American Phil Mickelson going into Sunday's final round.

Mickelson was playing in the pairing behind the Swede and when he eagled on the 13 with a brilliant, curling putt from 20 feet, the roar from the crowd echoed across Augusta National.

The noise did not have to travel far to Hanson, on the 14th, but he kept his composure to make birdie.

"That was one of those special kind of Masters moments that I've watched so many times on television," said Hanson.

"You could hear the crowd going wild when he made the eagle. It kind of helped me on 14. I'm standing in the middle of the fairway and I feel him breathing down my neck a little bit and manage to get mine close on 14 and picked up another birdie on 15."

Birdies on each of the final two holes gave Hanson a lead to sleep on for the first time in a major but he said he will not be looking to relive the special moments on television back at his residence.

"It's a new situation for me. I've been up on the leaderboard a few times, but I've never led in anything like this," he said.

"I know it's going to be a tough night and I will just try to do the normal stuff. I've got my two kids here and my wife, and so we will just stay in the house and cook.

"I probably won't be watching a lot of Golf Channel or stuff. Just trying to stay away from all that and try to get as much sleep as I can and try to be ready for tomorrow."

The personable Hanson, widely liked among his fellow professionals, said he will immerse himself in his family before returning to the course for Sunday's final round with Mickelson.

"We have a great house here, so probably spend time with the kids. We have a nice place with toys in the backyard and playground. I'll take it pretty easy," he said.

"To me the key thing is try to not watch too much of the buzz around this, because I know there will be. I'll just try to stay away from it and come up here tomorrow and do my normal routine with my putting before lunch and then get to the range and try to just enjoy the moment on the first tee."

Hanson played with Mickelson in the first two rounds here and said that he had gained energy from the crowd support for the American on Thursday and Friday.

On Sunday, Hanson knows the attention will be on his rival for the winner's green jacket and he is perfectly happy with that situation.

"He will be the big‑time favorite to win, so I kind of see myself still as a little bit of an underdog," said Hanson. "We'll just see what happens."

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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