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Lefty struggles to only three of 14 FWs on Day 1

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LOS ANGELES – Phil Mickelson wasn’t kissing his driver Thursday at the Northern Trust Open.

Two weeks after raving over how well he was driving the ball when he won the Waste Management Phoenix Open, he struggled off the tee at Riviera Country Club while posting an even-par 71.

“I was hitting some pull hooks, I was hitting some block cuts,” Mickelson said. “I put myself in some not so great spots off the tee.”

Mickelson hit just three of 14 fairways in the first round. Nobody hit fewer in the morning wave.

Mickelson wasn’t at his best at Pebble Beach last week, either. Even with his swing still off on Thursday, he fought to 1 under with a birdie at the sixth hole, his 15th on the day. He followed that up missing a 6-footer for birdie at the seventh and a 6-footer for par at the 17th

“It’s just a fraction off,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson, who is playing for his fifth consecutive week, is seeking his third title in this event. He lost in a playoff to Bill Haas here last year.

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