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Phil Mickelson opens season with 72 to fall 9 strokes back in Humana Challenge

  • b2df42c41191e302260f6a706700bbaa.jpg

    Phil Mickelson hits from a fairway bunker on the fifth hole during the first round of the Humana Challenge golf tournament at the La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (The Associated Press)

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    Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the Humana Challenge golf tournament at the La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (The Associated Press)

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    Phil Mickelson reacts after missing a birdie putt on the second hole during the first round of the Humana Challenge golf tournament at the La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (The Associated Press)

  • 7a3ae695118fe302260f6a7067001dfd.jpg

    Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the Humana Challenge golf tournament at the La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif. Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (The Associated Press)

  • cdadef341187e302260f6a706700d39f.jpg

    Webb Simpson follows his shot from the second tee of the Palmer Private Course at PGA West during the first round of the Humana Challenge PGA golf tournament Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (The Associated Press)

Phil Mickelson opened his season with an erratic even-par 72 on Thursday in the Humana Challenge, leaving him nine strokes behind the first-round leaders.

Recovering from flu-like symptoms, the 42-year-old Mickelson had three birdies, a bogey and double bogey at La Quinta Country Club — one of three courses used in the pro-am event.

Jason Kokrak, Roberto Castro and James Hahn topped the leaderboard at 9-under 63. Kokrak had two eagles and five birdies at La Quinta, Castro had nine birdies at PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Private Course, and Hahn had nine birdies on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course.

Russell Henley, the Sony Open winner Sunday in Hawaii in his first start as a PGA Tour member, had a 64 on the Nicklaus course.