Phil Mickelson still feels as young as ever. He still plays that way, too.
Mickelson began his 27th full season as a pro on Thursday by flirting with one of the few feats he hasn’t accomplished — golf’s magic number. The 48-year-old left-hander still shot a 12-under 60 in the Desert Classic at La Quinta, Calif., 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.
Needing to play the final two holes in 2 under to shoot 59 on the cloudy, rainy day at La Quinta Country Club, Mickelson missed a 15-foot birdie try on the par-4 17th before holing a 9-footer for birdie on the par-4 18th.
Top-ranked Justin Rose, also making his 2019 debut, had a 68 at La Quinta — one of three courses used in the event. He’s the first No. 1 player to play the tournament since the world ranking began in 1986.
CHAMPIONS: David Toms and Joe Durant each shot 7-under 65 to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, Hawaii.
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Scott Parel were tied for third at 68. Jimenez won at Hualalai in 2015. Vijay Singh topped a large group at 69.
Steve Stricker also shot 70, playing alongside defending champion Jerry Kelly in a pairing of Madison, Wisconsin, friends. Kelly had a 71.
LPGA: Brooke Henderson of Canada birdied five of her last eight holes for a 6-under 65, giving her a share of the lead with Eun-Hee Ji in the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions on the LPGA Tour at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The 26-player field is for LPGA winners from each of the last two seasons.
Ariya Jutanugarn, the world’s No. 1 player who captured every major award last year, opened with a 67.
While the Canadian finished strong, Ji was steady in a bogey-free round at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club. They had a one-shot lead over Lydia Ko and Stacy Lewis, who was playing her first tournament since giving birth to her first child last year.
The New York Yankees and reliever Adam Ottavino reportedly agreed to a $27 million, three-year contract.
Ottavino is a 33-year-old New Yorker who went to Berkeley Carroll High School in Brooklyn and Northeastern University. He wore No. 0 with Colorado, a number not likely to be assigned by the tradition-bound Yankees.
He had a career-high 112 strikeouts in 77⅔ innings last year for the Colorado Rockies, going 6-4 with a 2.43 ERA in 75 relief appearances. The right-hander reduced his fastball percentage, relying primarily on sliders and sinkers. He walked 36.
The Seattle Seahawks are giving quarterback Paxton Lynch another chance in the NFL.
Lynch’s signing throws 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. He started four games in his first two seasons for Denver after being the No. 26 overall pick in 2016 but was not signed by any teams in 2018 after being released.
The Minnesota Wild traded left wing Nino Niederreiter to the Carolina Hurricanes for center Victor Rask, a swap of underperforming but still-young players on long-term contracts between teams under new regimes.
The 26-year-old Niederreiter, a native of Switzerland, has nine goals and 14 assists in 46 games this season for the Wild. He’s in the second season of a five-year, $26.25 million contract that came after a career-best 2016-17 season.