Phil Mickelson was surprised after firing a seven-under-par 65 in the first round of the Safeway Open to sit two shots off the lead.
The 48-year-old American went into the PGA Tour’s season-opening tournament at Silverado Resort Course in Napa, California, off the back of his dismal performance in last week’s Ryder Cup when he failed to register a point in the United States’ 17.5 – 10.5 mauling by Europe at Le Golf National in Paris.
However, Mickelson enjoyed a good start with his opening round featuring six successive birdies as his 65 leaves him two shots behind early leader, Austrian Sepp Straka.
“I certainly didn’t expect this. I expected to be going home after (Friday),” Mickelson told reporters.
“I’m not playing well, I’m not at my best. Today I had a couple things click and I got in a nice little rhythm.”
Fellow American Chase Wright sits in second place one shot ahead of Mickelson, who is one of just two top-25 players featuring at the tournament.