Villegas fires a record-equaling 62 for lead at Phoenix

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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - Camilo Villegas fired a sparkling nine-under 62 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Phoenix Open Thursday.

The Colombian notched nine birdies in a bogey-free round to finish a stroke above American Matt Every and equal the tournament's first-round record shared by Steve Jones and Harrison Frazar.

Briton Justin Rose was among five tied for third.

"Obviously it was a pretty fun day. I love this place, we only have one event like this all year," Villegas told reporters of the tournament known for its raucous crowds and festive atmosphere.

"I obviously played well today and we'll continue that good attitude and see what happens."

The 28-year-old, who was denied a place in the final of last week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship by Briton Paul Casey on the sixth extra hole, started on the back nine and charged out of the blocks.

After three birdies in his first four holes, the Colombian made three in a row from the 15th, before collecting another three on the front nine.

Defending champion Kenny Perry and two-time winner Phil Mickelson shot 68s to trail by six.

"It wasn't what I wanted for the first round," Mickelson said of his roller coaster round of six birdies and three bogeys. "I played better (than my score) I thought, but I'm right in it."

After finishing 2009 with a pair of victories, world number three Mickelson has struggled to recapture his form this year, his best finish in three starts a joint eighth at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Ransom)