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Mickelson remains four ahead in Phoenix

(Reuters) - Phil Mickelson still held a commanding four-shot lead when the frost-delayed first round of the Phoenix Open was completed in Scottsdale, Arizona on Friday.

The American left-hander fired a sizzling 11-under-par 60 in ideal scoring conditions at the TPC Scottsdale on Thursday, lipping out with a birdie putt on his final hole in his bid for a magical 59.

Thirty-three players were still out on the course when play was suspended for the day and, of those, American Roberto Castro made the biggest move when the round finally ended on Friday morning.

Little-known Castro birdied two of his last four holes, the 15th and 17th, to card a 65, finishing five strokes off the pace along with 10 others.

Mickelson's closest challengers were fellow Americans Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Palmer, Jeff Maggert and Ted Potter Jr and Irishman Padraig Harrington, who all completed the opening round on Thursday.

Mickelson, a twice champion here, was scheduled to start his second round at 10.16 a.m. local (1716 GMT) and huge galleries were again expected to monitor his progress over the Scottsdale layout.

The 42-year-old is a fan favorite wherever he plays, but especially here given that he studied at the nearby Arizona State University.

"It was a fun day, and I'm excited to shoot 60," Mickelson said of his opening round which tied the course record he already held jointly with Grant Waite and Mark Calcavecchia.

"But to see that last putt lip out the way it did and not go in, it's crushing because you don't get that chance very often to shoot 59."

The last time Mickelson shot a 60 at Scottsdale, in 2005, he went on to win the title.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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