Tour Tracker: Trio at 9 under leads Humana

Roberto Castro waves after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green of the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West during the first round of the Humana Challenge golf tournament on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in La Quinta, Calif.

Roberto Castro waves after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green of the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West during the first round of the Humana Challenge golf tournament on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in La Quinta, Calif.

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The PGA Tour has returned to the mainland and with that, one of the tour's biggest stars returned to action on Thursday at the Humana Challenge.

Phil Mickelson made his 2013 debut, carding an even-par 72 despite battling the lingering effects of the flu that kept him from fully preparing for the event. He trails Roberto Castro, James Hahn and Jason Kokrak by nine shots.

Last week's Sony Open champion Russell Henley is in a group tied for fourth at 8 under.

Mickelson is one of five Las Vegas favorites this week. Others include Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Tim Clark and Brandt Snedeker. Read that story here.

See how it all unfolded with our tracker:

• • •

Update #13: 6:10 p.m.

Last week's winner Russell Henley just wrapped up a 7-under 65, putting him in the clubhouse two shots behind leaders Jason Kokrak and Roberto Castro. Also at 7 under is Johnson Wagner, who was runner-up at Humana last season, and Patrick Cantlay, who is in the field on a sponsor invite. He'll also play at next week's Farmers Insurance Open on a sponsor invite.

• • •

Update #12: 5:41 p.m.

Rough start for defending champion Mark Wilson. His opening 77 at La Quinta Country Club included two double bogeys, and put him next to last on the leaderboard. Wilson missed the Sony Open cut last week, where he also is a past champion.

• • •

Update #11: 5:25 p.m.

Jason Kokrak has two eagles in his round, at Nos. 6 and 11 at La Quinta Country Club. Kokrak finished 72nd at last week's Sony Open. He is 88th on the PGA Tour Money List, and his best finish in 2012 was T-2 at the Frys.com Open.

• • •

Update #10: 5:05 p.m.

The first scorecards are starting to come in. Aaron Baddeley is the leader in the clubhouse with a 64 on PGA West's Palmer course. Baddeley is No. 87 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

• • •

Update #9: 4:40 p.m.

Jeff Maggert, James Hahn and Jerry Kelly are the new leaders at 8 under. Kelly is bogey-free through 17 holes on Nicklaus Private while Maggert also hasn't had a bogey on that course. He is through 16 holes. Hahn has only played 12 holes, so he has a chance to overtake Kelly and Maggert.

• • •

Update #8: 3:45 p.m.

Bobby Gates has reached 7 under and holds the lead. Through 14 holes, he has yet to make a bogey on the Nicklaus Private course. Three players are 6 under behind him.

• • •

Update #7: 3:09 p.m.

Time for a Phil Mickelson update. With a double-bogey 6 at the par-4 10th, Lefty has dropped to 2 over, which puts him at T-148. Mickelson made the turn at even par. This is Mickelson's first start in 2013.

• • •

Update #6: 2:52 p.m.

Three more players have gotten to 5 under, joining Bobby Gates. As for notables near the top, Sony Open winner Russell Henley has birdied four of his opening five holes and is part of a group at 4 under, tied for fifth.

• • •

Update #5: 2:24 p.m.

Bobby Gates, who earned his Tour card at the 2011 and '12 Q-Schools at PGA West, has made the turn in 5 under. He birdied No. 2, and Nos. 4-7 on the Nicklaus Private course. Eleven more players are tied for second one shot behind Gates.

• • •

Update #4: 1 p.m.

Don't look now, but Mike Weir is hot to start his round, sitting at 3 under through four holes. He is tied for the lead with Harris English, Brandt Snedeker and D.J. Trajan.

• • •

Update #3: 12:15 a.. EST

How did Harris English get under par? He holed out from the rough for birdie at the 11th. D.J. Trahan is 2 under through his first three holes.

• • •

Update #2: 11:55 a.m. EST

The first groups have teed off, and with immediate birdies, Harris English, Wes Short Jr., Aaron Baddeley and Brandt Snedeker share the lead. Phil Mickelson to tee off in about 15 more minutes.

• • •

Update #1: 11:10 a.m. EST

We are about 20 minutes away from the first tee ball at the Humana, and you can expect some slow play today, as this is a pro-am. Weather should be beautiful today, with a high of 75 degrees, winds up to 8 mph and zero chance of rain. The tournament is played on three different courses. Here are the tee times and pairings of just the pros.

• • •

Also take a look at our pre-tournament coverage:

• THE ODDS: Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Tim Clark and Phil Mickelson have been installed as 15/1 favorites at the Humana Challenge, while Rory McIlroy is a slight favorite over Tiger Woods in Abu Dhabi. Story.

ATTACK MODE: Russell Henley might be 23, but he is wise beyond his years, learning that you must keep the pedal to the metal if you hope to succeed on the PGA Tour. Story.

NOT 'DISAPPOINTED:' Sure, David Toms wanted to be the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but he believes "everything happens for a reason." And the PGA Tour veteran has plenty to keep himself occupied as he looks for another shot in 2016. Story.

PREDICTIONS: Phil Mickelson returns to action this week, and yes, he is picked by one of our panelists. But there are five different favorites on our radar for the PGA Tour's Humana Challenge this week . . . Tip Sheet.

COMEBACK: The Humana Challenge, formerly the Bob Hope Classic, has staged a remarkable comeback in the past two years. Story.

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