Mickelson continued his success after winning last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He was playing so well that a week ago he decided to add Riviera to his schedule. Thus far, it looks like a good decision. “I think the momentum may have carried me through, especially on the greens,” Mickelson said. “I putted very well today, a lot of short putts. That was the biggest area, especially coming in.” Mickelson, the gallery’s favorite, hit a perfect flop shot on the sixth hole. Mickelson was on the side of a bunker famously located in the middle of the green, and his flop shot landed about a foot from the hole before rolling another five feet. The gallery roared, then he made the putt for good measure. “I think the crowds were great, you know, playing with Phil, he’s a native Californian boy, so there was a lot of support for him,” Els said. Mickelson actually is commuting via a leased jet from his home in Rancho Santa Fe. He said he left his house at 5:15 a.m. and was at Riviera by 6:15. He’s doing the travel so he can spend more time with his family. And as crazy as it seems, Harrington – ranked 10th in the world – birdied the first, second and third holes on the front nine, then birdied holes 10 through 13. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain such a mastery of the course. “This has always been an event that you look at on television and say, `It’s Riviera Country Club, what more could you want than to come here and play?” Harrington said. “It’s certainly one of the best golf courses of the year. So, you do want to play it.” [email protected] (818) 713-3615 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! This isn’t Mickelson’s hometown tournament, it just seemed like it. Mickelson and playing partners Ernie Els and Vaughn Taylor had the biggest and best gallery, with the majority of fans pulling for Mickelson. After Mickelson made a 29-foot putt to birdie the third hole, one fan yelled: “We missed you Phil!” That seemed to be the sentiment. And if Mickelson continues to play this well, he might have to make it a regular stop. “I felt good,” Mickelson said. “You know, I hit some good shots, and I was able to shoot a good round. But it’s a little humbling to shoot what I thought was a good round and then get lapped by three (shots).” Even more humbling to know Harrington had never played in the Nissan Open and only played the course once before this week. Harrington played Riviera with friends while he was in Los Angeles for the Target World Challenge. “Obviously, some day it will catch up to me, the fact I don’t know the golf course,” Harrington said. “Today it didn’t. And whenever I did miss a shot, it seemed to be OK. There are a lot of pitfalls on this course, the catches, but they didn’t today.” Tiger Woods skipped the tournament this year, but eight of the top 10 ranked players in the world are in it and are playing like it. Four of those players – Harrington, Mickelson, Jim Furyk, and Vijay Singh – are in the top 10 on the leaderboard. Furyk shot a 4-under 67 and Singh a 68. PACIFIC PALISADES – Phil Mickelson missed the Nissan Open the last five years, but he didn’t miss a beat in his return. Mickelson shot a 5-under par 66 in Thursday’s first round at Riviera Country Club and is tied for second with Briny Baird and Pat Perez. They’re three shots behind leader Padraig Harrington, who made 10 birdies in an opening-round 63.