SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Phil Mickelson's back was better than his game Thursday in the Phoenix Open.
Returning to play after withdrawing from Torrey Pines last Friday night because of back pain, Mickelson opened his title defense with an even-par 71. That left him seven strokes behind leaders Bubba Watson and Y.E. Yang.
Mickelson said: "My back is fine. My game was a little rusty."
Lefty had five birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey at TPC Scottsdale.
Mickelson first felt soreness in his back two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, and pulled out of his hometown event in San Diego after making the 36-hole cut. He flew to Georgia to see back specialist Tom Boers and was told his facet joints locked up.
Watson and Yang shot 64.