SPORTS

Phil Mickelson returns with scrambling 68 at La Quinta

  • Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the third hole during the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge at the La Quinta County Club Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the third hole during the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge at the La Quinta County Club Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)  (The Associated Press)

  • Phil Mickelson reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 12th hole during the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge at the La Quinta County Club Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Phil Mickelson reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 12th hole during the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge at the La Quinta County Club Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)  (The Associated Press)

  • Phil Mickelson reacts to his chip to the second green during the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge at the La Quinta County Club Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Phil Mickelson reacts to his chip to the second green during the first round of the CareerBuilder Challenge at the La Quinta County Club Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)  (The Associated Press)

Phil Mickelson shot a scrambling 4-under 68 on Thursday in the CareerBuilder Challenge, leaving him four strokes back in his return from two sports hernia surgeries.

The 46-year-old Mickelson had surgery Oct. 19 — three days after tying for eighth in the season-opening Safeway Open — and again Dec. 12. He opened the three-course event at La Quinta Country Club.

Tour rookie Dominic Bozzelli shot a 64 on the Stadium Course at PGA West — the most difficult of the courses — to top the leaderboard. He holed out from 115 yards for eagle on the par-4 14th.

Jhonattan Vegas, the 2011 champion, was a stroke back at 65 along with Harold Varner III, Hudson Swafford and Patton Kizzire. Vegas and Kizzire played PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Varner and Swafford were at La Quinta.

Rain fell off and on in the morning and more was expected Friday.