The Masters 2014: Phil Mickelson on course for Augusta after shaking off injury concerns

Last Updated: 04/04/14 5:24am

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Phil Mickelson in action on day one

Phil Mickelson in action on day one

Sky Bet

Phil Mickelson showed no signs of injury as he made a strong start in the Shell Houston Open in Texas.

The three-time Masters champion had been a doubt for the event with a pulled muscle which forced him out of the Valero Texas Open last week while there were concerns he might not be fit to play at Augusta.

But the left-hander said he felt "great" after shooting four birdies and no bogeys in a 68 which put him just two off the clubhouse lead.

Mickelson believes receiving treatment within 30 minutes of his withdrawal in the Texas Open could have proved vital to his recovery, explaining: "I travel with a light machine. It expedites the healing process.

"I'm surprised because I was worried when it happened about the Masters. I was certainly worried about Houston, but it healed a lot quicker.

"I felt great today. I didn't feel any pain or discomfort and didn't even think about it."

Mickelson spent two days at Augusta earlier this week working on his game and playing nine holes of practice. He'll be looking to add a fourth Masters Green Jacket next week to add to his wins in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

Another Masters hopeful, Matt Kuchar, kept up his good form by taking a share of the clubhouse lead with a six-under 66.

"I was 18 for 18 for greens in regulation," said the six-times PGA Tour winner, who picked up three early birdies before adding three more in consecutive holes around the turn.

"I made a couple of nice putts mid-round to really get things going and missed a few coming in."

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