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Phil Mickelson 6 shots behind after failing to make a birdie in 1st round in Abu Dhabi

  • f5b83c5a43251302490f6a706700bab4.jpg

    Phil Mickelson of the U.S. follows his ball on the 2nd hole during the 1st round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) (The Associated Press)

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    Phil Mickelson of the U.S. follows his ball on the 2nd hole during the 1st round of Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) (The Associated Press)

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    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a ball on the 1st hole during the 1st round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) (The Associated Press)

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    Henrik Stenson of Sweden tees off on the 15th hole during the 1st round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) (The Associated Press)

Phil Mickelson's new driver didn't bring him much success in the first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, as he failed to make a single birdie in a 1-over 73 to sit six shots behind the leaders.

Mickelson made 17 straight pars in his first round of the year before a bogey on his last hole, and said "I can't recall the last time I had a round without a birdie."

Matthew Baldwin of England was tied for the lead with Romain Wattel of France and Rafa Cabrera-Bello after a 67.

Seven players, including European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, were one shot behind.

Mickelson said before the event that he was "so excited about this year" because of a new driver from Callaway Golf that he said could turn one of his weaknesses into a strength.

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