The PGA Tour’s West Coast swing began in earnest in La Quinta, Calif. on Thursday, with Phil Mickelson starting things off on a high note with a scintillating opening round of 60. He currently leads the tournament by three shots.
Here’s what else you missed from Round 1 of the Desert Classic.
1. Phil Mickelson went on a birdie barrage
Though he started the day with a tweet alluding to his rust, Mickelson looked as sharp as ever on Thursday, carding 10 birdies and one eagle en route to a perfectly clean scorecard totaling 60 — one shot shy of the coveted 59. Still, it was the lowest round of his career, and he currently leads his closest competitor, Adam Long, by three shots.
2. The World No. 1 is within striking distance
Justin Rose is the first World No. 1 to play the Desert Classic since 1986 — the year the world ranking began. He had a good showing, with a first-round of four-under-par 68, which included six birdies and two bogeys. He’s currently eight shots back of Mickelson’s lead.
3. Rodriguez is in the mix
After reading Alan Shipnuck’s excellent feature and familiarizing themselves with PGA Tour rookie Jose de Jesus Rodriguez this season, many Tour fans will be eager to follow his progress this season, and he didn’t disappoint on Thursday, with an opening round of five-under-par 67 — good enough for T18 heading into Round 2.
4. Not everyone had a great day
While the Desert Classic has a history of low scoring, not everyone experienced red numbers. Plenty of players had a tough time on Thursday, most notably Jason Dufner, who suffered five bogeys and three doubles en route to a seven-over-par 79. There’s always tomorrow, Duf!