Mickelson 6 shots behind in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Phil Mickelson didn't have much success with his new driver in the first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, failing to make a single birdie in a 1-over 73 to sit six shots behind the leaders.

Mickelson made 17 straight pars in his first round of the year before a bogey on his last hole, joining a number of big names who struggled on the opening day.

Matthew Baldwin of England was tied for the lead with Romain Wattel of France and Rafa Cabrera-Bello after a 67. Seven players, including European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, were one shot behind.

Mickelson's playing partner Rory McIlroy carded a 70 while Henrik Stenson had four bogeys in a 74 and Sergio Garcia complained about the rough being "dangerous" after a 76.

Humana Challenge

At La Quinta, Calif., Zach Johnson finished two strokes behind first-round leader Patrick Reed in the Humana Challenge on Thursday.

Johnson finished with a 7-under 65, hitting all 14 fairways at La Quinta Country Club — the most-demanding driving layout in the three-course event. He hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation and had 27 putts in his bogey-free round.

Reed had a 9-under 63 in perfect scoring and weather conditions. He ran off five straight birdies in the middle of his bogey-free round on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course and tied his career low.


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