Mickelson revels in 'phenomenal' PGA Tour return

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Phil Mickelson reflected on a "phenomenal" return to the PGA Tour after shooting a fine four-under 68 in his first competitive round since October at the CareerBuilder Challenge on Thursday.

The 46-year-old last played at the Safeway Open and has twice undergone surgery for a sports hernia in that time.

However, the five-time major champion, popularly known as 'Lefty', showed touches of class in California as five birdies and a solitary bogey left him well in contention at tied 21st after round one, three shots back from the joint leaders.

Mickelson's trademark short game appeared in particularly fine fettle and the popular American was delighted with his performance given his lack of preparation over the PGA Tour's close-season.

"I thought it was phenomenal. I struck some horrible shots but scored out of my mind," Mickelson, who said that he was unsure if he would tee it up as recently as Tuesday, told Fox Sports.

"I'm happy with it. My first round of golf was on Saturday. I haven't been able to practice much. 

"The last two weeks I've managed to work out, I've practiced for a week. My game is rusty, but the body feels good.

"There's no better place to learn than these golf courses and put it to the test. It's a perfect place to start the year. It's fun to be involved and play it. [This course] doesn't punish you too much for bad shots."