Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during round-robin play at the Dell Technologies Match Play golf tournament at Austin County Club, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay
March 24, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Phil Mickelson is off to a strong start in his bid to get beyond the third round of the Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time in 13 years.

Mickelson won the opening three holes in his match against J.B. Holmes. He needs only to halve the match to advance out of group play. Eight other players, including No. 1 seed Dustin Johnson, face the same scenario Friday at Austin Country Club.

Because of three players withdrawing throughout the week, Soren Kjeldsen and Alex Noren already won their group and did not have to deal with the rain. Neither did Marc Leishman, who was to play Jason Day.

Leishman lost Thursday to Pat Perez. If Perez loses his third-round match, he would play Leishman in a sudden-death playoff.

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