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Northern Trust Open: Phil Mickelson tees off; John Senden, Martin Laird, Padraig Harrington in and under par

February 17, 2011 | 12:51 pm

John Senden, a 39-year-old from Brisbane, Australia, who has one PGA Tour victory in his career, is tied for the early lead Thursday at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club with Scotland's Martin Laird. Senden and Laird finished the first round with rounds of four-under-par 67.

Also finished and only a shot behind is three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, who considered himself pleased with his three-under start of 68. Harrington, a 29-year-old Irishman who has won the British Open twice and the PGA Championship once, counted an eagle three on the short par-five first hole as his best first-round moment.

Two-time Riviera winner Phil Mickelson began his round in the afternoon and birdied his first hole, the par-four 10th. He is two-under after two holes.

Dustin Johnson, who led here last year after the first and second rounds, finished with a two-over 73. Johnson was penalized two shots for being late for his 7:32 a.m. tee time. According to PGA Tour officials, Johnson was on the driving range when his group was scheduled to start. He did arrive within the five-minute window allowed before a player is disqualified. Johnson told the Golf Channel that he was "misinformed" about his tee time, seemingly a shot at his caddy. But his caddy didn't take the two-shot hit.

-- Diane Pucin