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Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods prove to be an even match



A par round sees Chopra in 61st spot

CHICAGO: The world's two top golfers proved to be an even match on Thursday as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, competing as playing partners, battled stroke for stroke at the 88th PGA Championship.

The two fired three-under 69s in the first round of the 7,561 yard Medinah Country Club, as former Ryder Cup star Chris Riley and World No. 51 Lucas Glover shared the clubhouse lead on six-under 66.

"I was behind the eight ball early, but we all missed a few shots, got up and down and grinded our way around the golf course," said Woods, who started slow with a bogey but then fired off three birdies over the next five holes.

Reigning British Open champion Woods and Mickelson, who captured the 2006 Masters, have combined to win six of the last 11 Majors. The PGA Championship continues with the traditional of pairing the first three Major winners of the year in the first two rounds.

U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy completed the dynamic trio as he is also seeking to make it a two-major season. Ogilvy also shot a 69 on Thursday.

Modest start

Meanwhile, Daniel Chopra, playing his first major, made a modest start with a par 72 that placed him 61st.

Chopra had a horrible start with a double bogey on 10th and followed that up with a bogey on 11th to make it three-over for two holes.

He recovered with birdies on 14th and 17th, where his playing partner Olin Browne shot a hole-in-one. A bogey followed on second and another on fourth but the Swede of Indian origin ended with a birdie on ninth.

Starting on the 10th tee, Mickelson opened with two consecutive birdies but then had to scramble on the back nine to make par after approach shots on the 12th and 13th holes came up short.

Not very close

Woods and Mickelson do not enjoy a close relationship and failed to hit it off when paired together for the United States in the Ryder Cup.

They were seen sharing a joke during one moment of Thursday's round but Mickelson doesn't expect to be chatting away with Woods in Friday's second round.

The standings (after first round): 66: Lucas Glover, Chris Riley; 67: Billy Andrade; 68: Stewart Cink, Luke Donald, Robert Allenby, J.J. Henry, Henrik Stenson, Davis Love; 69: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Billy Mayfair, Fred Funk, Lee Westwood, Geoff Ogilvy, Tim Herron, Harrison Frazar, Jonathan Byrd, Shaun Micheel, Sergio Garcia. Agencies

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