Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# Opening Drive
Mickelson's momentum carries him to the top
Phil Mickelson shot a five-under-par 66 to take a one-shot lead on the opening day of the Northern Trust Open in California.

YouTube credit: pgatour

Doug Ferguson, AP

FOUR DAYS AFTER his big win at Pebble Beach, Phil Mickelson keeps right on rolling.

Mickelson hit driver off the deck from just under 300 yards on the par-5 11th that led to a two-putt birdie, and he ended a gorgeous afternoon at Riviera yesterday by chipping in from 35 feet for birdie. That gave him a five-under 66 and a one-shot lead in the Northern Trust Open.

Dating to the back nine of his second round at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Mickelson has made birdie or eagle on one-third of the holes he has played. And his streak of consecutive holes without a bogey finally ended at 49 on the par-three 16th.

No matter. He looked good with the putter and with his low, penetrating tee shots that he kept below the tree line on a windy day that prevented low scoring.

JB Holmes, in his fourth tournament since returning from brain surgery in September, played his final six holes without a par. His round ended with a 315-yard tee shot — a big drive in the cool air of Los Angeles in February — and an approach to eight feet for birdie at the ninth, the second-toughest hole at Riviera.

That gave him a four-under 67. He was tied with Hunter Mahan, whose 35-foot birdie at five sent him on a string of four straight birdies.

They all played in the afternoon, when the wind began to die late in the day.

Jonathan Byrd, who faced the chilly, blustery conditions of the morning, had a 68. He was joined by Carl Pettersson.

The first round was suspended by darkness with 30 players — including Padraig Harrington, who is one-over-par through 16 holes — yet to finish the round.

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