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Phil Mickelson watches his drive on the fifth hole during the first round of the Shell Houston Open, Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Humble Texas. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Golf: Phil Mickelson among leaders at Houston Open
First Published Apr 03 2014 08:58 pm • Last Updated Apr 03 2014 10:02 pm

Humble, Texas • Phil Mickelson did more than prove to just himself that he’s ready for next week’s Masters on Thursday.

The five-time major winner showed to everyone that he’s fully recovered from last week’s muscle pull and likely to be a factor in this week’s Houston Open as well.

At a glance

Golf

Leaderboard

Houston Open

Bill Haas -7

Charley Hoffman -7

Keegan Bradley -6

Matt Kuchar -6

J.B. Holmes -6

Erik Compton -6

Jim Renner -6

Also

Phil Mickelson -4

Mike Weir -1

Daniel Summerhays E

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Without so much as a practice round this week at the 7,441-yard Golf Club of Houston, Mickelson opened with a 4-under par 68 and was among the leaders following Thursday’s opening round.

The bogey-free performance was a far cry from last week when Mickelson was forced to withdraw during the third round in San Antonio after pulling a muscle in his right side

"I’m surprised because I was worried about the Masters," Mickelson said. "I was certainly worried about Houston, but it healed a lot quicker. I felt great today; didn’t feel any pain or discomfort and didn’t even think about it."

Mickelson is three shots back of first-round co-leaders Bill Haas and Charley Hoffman, both who finished at 7 under. Hass had five birdies on his back nine, while Hoffman needed just 27 putts to earn a share of the lead.

Keegan Bradley and Matt Kuchar lead a group of five golfers at 6 under. J.B. Holmes, Erik Compton and Jim Renner are also at 6 under, with 10 golfers are at 5 under.

Of the 144 players in the field, 113 finished at even par or under on an overcast and occasionally misty day.

Mickelson and Bradley were part of a threesome with Webb Simpson, who also finished 4 under. All three players in the group navigated the course without a bogey in their morning rounds.

Former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy finished with a 2-under 70.


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LPGA

In Rancho Mirage, Calif., Michelle Wie let a couple of shots slip away late Thursday afternoon in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, leaving her a shot behind Shanshan Feng.

Tied for the lead after playing a four-hole stretch in 5 under, Wie lipped out a 3-foot par putt on the par-3 17th and settled for par and a 5-under 67 after her wedge approach released long on the par-5 18th.



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