October 5, 2018 / 2:47 AM / 12 days ago

Mickelson surprised by good form in PGA Tour opener

(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson put his disappointing Ryder Cup performance behind him and surprised himself by shooting a seven-under-par 65 in the first round of the Safeway Open in Napa, California on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Golf - 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National - Guyancourt, France - September 30, 2018 - Team USA's Phil Mickelson during the Singles REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Mickelson lost both of his matches last week in Paris as the Americans were hammered 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 by Europe, but delivered a much more assured 18 holes in the PGA Tour’s season-opener at the Silverado Resort Course.

Mickelson had a birdie at the third then ran off six more in a row from the ninth hole to finish the day two shots behind leader 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.”

Mickelson hit 14 of 18 greens and needed only 25 putts on the day. The five-times major champion is one of only two players in the field who are ranked in the top 25 along with Patrick Cantlay, who finished his day at three-under.

Austrian Straka birdied his final three holes for a nine-under-par 63 and sits one shot clear of Chase Wright.

Brendan Steele began the defense of his title with a 67 and is four back of the leader.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherfordpeter.rutherford@thomsonreuters.com; +822 3704 5698 ReutersMessaging: peter.rutherford.reuters.com@reuters.net

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