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LA QUINTA, California: Roberto Castro, Jason Kokrak, and US PGA Tour rookie James Hahn all shot nine-under par 63 yesterday to share a one-stroke lead after the first round of the $5.6m Humana Challenge.
Rookie Russell Henley, coming off a three-stroke win in the Sony Open on Sunday, was among the quartet of players lying one stroke back on eight-under 64. He was tied with Australians Greg Chalmers and Aaron Baddeley and Dough LaBelle.
Phil Mickelson launched his 2013 season with an inconsistent round of even-par 72 that left him nine off the pace.
Mickelson, recovering from flu-like symptoms, had three birdies, one bogey and a double-bogey at La Quinta Country Club, one of three courses used in the tournament in which the opening rounds are played in a pro-am format.
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.
“The course over at La Quinta is in great shape,” Kokrak said. “Greens are not overly fast, so you can be somewhat aggressive out there. The greens are holding. So you can be aggressive with the iron shots out there,” he said. AFP