Mickelson (67) four shots back in Singapore

Phil Mickelson

SINGAPORE – Phil Mickelson, hoping to claim golf’s No. 1 ranking, opened with a 4-under 67 on Thursday and is four strokes off the pace after the rain-soaked first round at the Singapore Open.

South Korea’s Kim Bi-o and Chris Wood of England each shot 63 for a share of the lead.

The 204-man field was divided in half and played on different courses, but 108 players were unable to complete their rounds after thunderstorms delayed play for over four hours.

Kim and Wood both played the Sanjong course at Sentosa Golf Club, which was playing easier than the Serapong course.

Wood, last year’s rookie of the year on the European Tour, took advantage of the easy scoring conditions on the Sanjong course with eight birdies.

“The course I played today was the one you are looking to get your score in because there are a lot of good chances out there,” Wood said. “The other course I’m playing tomorrow has a bit more meat to it so if I could shoot another one of those down there, I’ll be happy.”

Spain’s Ignacio Garrido was also at 8 under but completed only 11 holes.

Japan’s Shigeki Maruyama was a stroke behind the leaders with a 64, and Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg was also at 7 under after playing 15 holes.

Gareth Maybin of Northern Ireland shot 65, while 10 players were tied at 66, including Asia’s first major champion, Y.E. Yang of South Korea.

Mickelson matched Malaysia’s Danny Chia and three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand.

The $6 million event is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

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