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Fluey Phil struggles at season opener

An even-par 72 was not the start Phil Mickelson was looking for at his season opener in the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, California.

"My timing and rhythm was off a little bit," Mickelson said. "My putter was atrocious and I've been putting great, too. So, that was disappointing."

Nine strokes behind the first-round leaders, Lefty has been recovered from the flu over the last few weeks and it showed as the 42-year-old chalked up a double bogey, a bogey and three birdies.

However, the iconic golfer was quick to dismiss any fault played by his recent illness. "I felt a lot better, I'm 95 percent better," he asserted.

Instead, he claimed, it was just new season rustiness that was to blame.

"When I'm not playing for a while, I really get excited to get back out and I was really amped up," Mickelson said. "I was nervous today and excited to play and maybe a little over-amped because again everything was quick -- my rhythm, timing, everything."

Struggling with his short game, Mickelson was far behind leaders that included Jason Kokrak, who nailed two eagles, Roberto Castro and James Hahn who top the board with 9-under 63s.

But the veteran is quick not to rule himself out of the reckoning and feels his best is yet to come at this event.

"I hit a lot of fairways and was able to shake out an even-par round," Mickelson said. "As bad as that is, I've got a low round in me tomorrow, I think. It doesn't feel like it's far off."

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