O'Hair's difficult past is no longer the story

O'Hair said he now talks to his father "once in a while." While he politely described their relationship as a "good situation," he didn't elaborate.

Coming off four consecutive top-15 finishes, O'Hair got off to a good start with birdies on the opening two holes at Cottonwood Valley, the easier of the two courses used for the Nelson's first two rounds. He finished with seven birdies and two bogeys, the last on the par-3 17th after "the one bad swing of the day" left his tee shot in the bunker.

Before his last four tournaments, O'Hair started the season missing five of six cuts and tied for 56th at the Nissan Open.

"I went back to an old instructor of mine, and things are starting to click," O'Hair said. "Golf is just about confidence, and it's just going out there with the feeling I'm going to play well, and that just wasn't the case at the beginning of the season."

It also helped to be back at Nelson. The only place O'Hair has finished better was at the 2005 John Deere Classic in Illinois.

Mickelson, No. 4 in the world ranking and highest-ranked player in the field, was 4 under in his first round since the Masters before his only three bogeys came on the last four holes. Afterward, he didn't want to discuss the swing changes he's been working on with new instructor Butch Harmon.

"I'm pleased so far, yeah," Mickelson said. "I hit the ball well, gave a few shots back in the end."

Mickelson, No. 7 Vijay Singh and No. 11 Donald are the only three of the top 13 players in the world playing this week. Mickelson and Singh, who also had an opening 69, are past Nelson champions.

Rod Pampling and Ken Duke, the 2006 Nationwide Tour champion coming off a PGA Tour-best runner-up finish last weekend at New Orleans, were in the group at 68. Both missed chances to do better.

Pampling had birdies on three of his first five holes at the TPC, including a 60-foot chip-in at the 490-yard No. 3. But he had an erratic back nine with three consecutive birdies sandwiched by four bogeys, missing the green on the final two holes.

Duke hit his drive at TPC's No. 14 out of bounds and three-putted at the 17th.

Divots: Hansen had a bogey-free round. ... Hank Kuehne shot a 74 in his first PGA Tour round since The Players Championship in March 2006 before he had surgery on his left hip. His gallery included tennis standout Venus Williams, who he is reportedly dating. They rode on a golf cart together back to the clubhouse after his round. ... Friday's rounds will be the last for the Nelson at Cottonwood Valley, which has been used every year since 1994. A multimillion dollar redesign of the TPC course begins May 10.

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