Phil Mickelson came into the week at Riviera Country Club a hot golfer, having won last week at Pebble Beach for his 40th career PGA Tour victory. After the first round at the 2012 Norther Trust Open Thursday at Pacific Palisades, Mickelson is atop the leaderboard again after a five-under-par 66 in round one.
Mickelson, who had five birdies in his first 13 holes before bogeying the 16th, birdied the par-4 18th hole to move one shot ahead of J.B. Holmes and Hunter Mahan, each of whom had much more volatile days on the course.
Holmes and Mahan each began their day on the 10th hole within 10 minutes of each other, and both had eight birdies, two bogies, and a double bogey. Mahan shot a six on the par-4 18th hole, while Holmes did the same on the eighth hole.
Jonathan Byrd and Carl Pettersson sit one shot back at three under par. Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, and Rory Sabbatini are part of a logjam of eight players tied for sixth at two under par. Fan favorite Fred Couples, who won the tournament in 1990 and 1992, shot an opening-round 70, and sits three shots off the lead.
|2012 Northern Trust Open Leaderboard|
Defending tournament champion Aaron Baddeley shot a two-over 73 in the first round, and sits tied for 61st, six shots off the pace. Top ranked amateur and UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay had a tough day at Riviera, shooting a seven-over 78, his worst round in any professional event thus far.
The full leaderboard can be found here.