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Northern Trust Open: John Senden's 67 came after warm-up in the dark.

February 17, 2011 |  1:34 pm

Senden_400 John Senden, who is from Brisbane, Australia, teed off at 7:11 a.m. Thursday in the first round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. Senden came early to warm up and said he was on the putting green about 6:15 in the morning, when it was cold and dark.

"Basically there were no lights up there," Senden said. "There was very dim light coming up from the sun at that time, but I don't think the sun gets up until after 6:30. I hit a few putts on the green and saw the lights on on the [driving] range so that was fine. But warming up in the dark wasn't the greatest of experiences."

Maybe loosening the stroke pre-dawn is good though, because Senden so far is a four-way co-leader of the tournament, with his four-under 67 tying Martin Laird, fellow Aussie Robert Allenby and Spencer Levin, a 26-year-old from Sacramento who has yet to win on the PGA Tour.

Phil Mickelson, a two-time winner here, started his first round with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, but he bogeyed the par-four 12th to stand at one-under par. Also just starting out, both Bill Haas and David Duval have eagled the par-five first hole.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: John Senden. Credit: Stuart Franklin / Getty Images