Phil Mickelson (Getty Images)
The 2008 and 2009 winner Phil Mickelson was in a share of the lead early on the opening day of the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions.
The American Ryder Cup star birdied his first two holes at Mission Hills in China after starting on the tenth, then reached three under with another gain at the 15th.
That put the left-handed four-time Major Champion level with compatriot Bubba Watson and South African Hennie Otto at the top of the leaderboard.
South African Otto, a two-time European Tour winner, had an eagle at the long third and birdie at the fourth; while Masters Tournament Champion Watson bogeyed the tenth – his first – before responding with an eagle three at the long next and birdies at the 14th an 15th.
Last week’s BMW Masters champion Peter Hanson, looking to close the gap to Rory McIlroy at the top of The Race to Dubai, moved into a share of fourth on two under with a four foot birdie putt on the 15th.