Luke Donald makes positive start but Mickelson leads in California

World number one Luke Donald got his PGA Tour season off to a solid start with a first-round 70 in the Northern Trust Open in California  .

Donald was tied ninth with fellow Englishman Justin Rose at one-under on the par-71 course.

Phil Mickelson shot a five-under par 66 to take sole possession of the lead.

"This morning it was freezing, and it was not easy [but] I'm excited about my ball-striking, the way I'm controlling the flight," said Donald.

"This course is tough so I'm pretty pleased with what I did."

Mickelson came into this tournament in Pacific Palisades with a recent win at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to become only the ninth player in PGA Tour history with 40 wins.

The four-time major winner coped well on a blustery day and had been tied for the lead with J.B. Holmes and Hunter Mahan until the final hole, when he chipped in from 35 feet for a sixth birdie of the day.

"It feels really good to get that one extra shot," Mickelson told www.pgatour.com.  "I felt like I left one or two out on 16, 17, and you hate to have such a good round and let a few slide late.

"It was a challenging day today because Riviera doesn't give you great opportunities to run balls on to the green.

"That kikuyu [grass] grabs it so you really have to fly it on. Fortunately the greens were somewhat receptive, and that's why I think the scores weren't extremely high. A lot of them were right around par."

Holmes (67) and Mahan (67) are tied for second place at four-under.

Also in the mix towards the top of the leaderboard was Sergio Garcia , one of eight players grouped together on two under, with the likes of Stewart Cink and KJ Choi alongside him.

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington was one over with two holes to play when darkness fell, but his day was considerably better than that of Scotland`s Martin Laird .

He was five over having completed the course, two better off than American Ryder Cup hopeful Anthony Kim .