Mickelson four back in rain-wrecked first round of $6m Singapore Open

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Phil Mickelson's opening 67 wasn't bad, considering the difficult conditions in Singapore.
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PA Sport and Associated Press

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Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010 | 10:33 a.m.

Phil Mickelson, hoping to claim golf's No. 1 ranking, opened with a 4-under 67 on Thursday and is four strokes off the pace after the rain-soaked first round at the Barclays Singapore Open. The $6 million event is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

South Korea's Kim Bi-o and Chris Wood of England each shot 63 for a share of the lead.

The 204-man field was divided in half and played on different courses, but 108 players were unable to complete their rounds after thunderstorms delayed play for more than four hours.

Kim and Wood both played the Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, which was playing easier than the Serapong Course.

Wood, last year's rookie of the year on the European Tour, took advantage of the easy scoring conditions on the Sanjong Course with eight birdies.

"The course I played today was the one you are looking to get your score in because there are a lot of good chances out there," Wood said. "The other course I'm playing tomorrow has a bit more meat to it so if I could shoot another one of those down there, I'll be happy."

Spain's Ignacio Garrido was also at 8 under but completed only 11 holes.

Japan's Shigeki Maruyama was a stroke behind the leaders with a 64, and Sweden's Rikard Karlberg was also at 7 under after playing 15 holes.

Gareth Maybin of Northern Ireland shot 65, while 10 players were tied at 5 under, including Asia's first major champion, Y.E. Yang of South Korea, along with Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, Nick Dougherty and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McDowell and Dougherty were still to complete their rounds on the Serapong Course.

Dougherty had made five birdies in 11 holes while McDowell, eager to chase down Martin Kaymer in the Race to Dubai, began like a man possessed with five birdies in six holes from the third, the Northern Irishman likely disappointed his first round was curtailed.

Wood made a blistering start as the Englishman reeled off three consecutive birdies, although play was suspended for four hours due to lightning between the second and the third. The 22-year-old added an eagle at the sixth to reach the turn in 31 and three more birdies in a row from the 11th saw him quickly move to 8 under par and top the leaderboard.

He was joined by playing partner Kim, who played the front nine in 33, but five birdies on the way back helped the Korean draw level with him.

"I had a lot of chances to make birdies as I missed about four birdies from inside 10 feet," Kim said. "I'm still fine and happy with 8 under, but I'm going to head out to the putting green and work on my putting. Hopefully I can play as good in the next few days."

Garrido, meanwhile, was piecing together potentially the round of his career. The former Ryder Cup player began with three straight birdies and picked up three more to play the front nine in just 30. Garrido then recorded birdies at the 10th and 11th before play was brought to a halt due to darkness.

Maruyama was one stroke back in the clubhouse after posting his 64, the Japanese veteran making six birdies and an eagle with his only blemish coming with a bogey at the par-5 12th.

Mickelson’s 4-under performance was matched by Malaysia's Danny Chia and three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, as well as Italian teenager Matteo Manassero.