Phil Mickelson shoots 12-under 60 at La Quinta in 2019 debut

Phil Mickelson says he feels as young as ever. He still plays that way, too.

Mickelson began his 27th full season as a pro Thursday by flirting with one of the few feats he hasn’t accomplished — golf’s magic number, 59. The 48-year-old left-hander shot a 12-under-par 60 in the PGA Tour’s Desert Classic at La Quinta (Riverside County), tying his career-low score he last shot in the Phoenix Open six years ago.

It was the most under par he has been in any of the 2,077 rounds he has played on the PGA Tour.

“It was a kind of a lucky day for me in the sense that I did not feel sharp heading in,” Mickelson said. “I haven’t really had the intense practice sessions that I would like, but I felt like all parts were OK and it just clicked. Some days you have those days where it just clicked.”

Mickelson had a three-stroke lead over Adam Long, a 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie.

Defending champion Jon Rahm shot a 66 and top-ranked Justin Rose had a 68 in his first start of the year.

The fog-delayed round was Mickelson’s first on tour since early October and the first in competition since beating Tiger Woods in Las Vegas in November in a made-for-TV event.

•Nearly three months after she became a mother, and six months after she last played on tour, Stacy Lewis opened with seven birdies for a 5-under 66 that left her tied with Lydia Ko, one shot behind leaders Brooke Henderson and Eun-Hee Ji at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Along with the 26-player field from the LPGA Tour competing for a $1.2 million purse, 49 celebrities are competing for a $500,000 prize fund using the modified Stableford scoring system.

Tennis player Mardy Fish led that field with 39 points for a two-point lead over a group that included retired A’s pitcher Mark Mulder.

•Ireland’s Shane Lowry followed his opening 10-under 62 with a 70 at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi Championship to limit his shrinking lead to one stroke over South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Richard Sterne, who both shot 68.

ELSEWHERE

Seahawks sign QB Lynch

The Seattle Seahawks signed quarterback Paxton Lynch, throwing the former first-round pick directly into the mix as a potential backup for Russell Wilson.

Lynch was cut by the Denver Broncos before the start of the 2018 season.

Boxing: Canelo Alvarez will return to the ring and to the middleweight division on May 4 to fight Danny Jacobs.

Alvarez will defend his WBC and WBA titles against IBF champion Jacobs in a matchup of two of the sport’s top performers. No venue has been announced for the bout.

Soccer: Barcelona earned a spot in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey, with Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele scoring in a 3-0 win over Levante to advance 4-2 on aggregate. However, Barcelona could be disqualified for allegedly using a suspended player in the first leg.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Phil-Mickelson-shoots-12-under-60-at-La-Quinta-in-13543251.php.

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