(CNN) -- Phil Mickelson is in danger of missing the cut for the first time in his PGA Tour season-opener after slumping to a five-over par 76 at the FBR Open in Arizona.
Mickielson tees off on the 11th watched by a big gallery at the TPC of Scottsdale.
Mickelson, a local favorite after attending Arizona State University, was 11 shots behind the joint leaders James Nitties of Australia and American Lucas Glover and will have to shoot a low round on Friday to survive for the weekend.
He was tied for 121st with nine players still on the course at the TPC of Scottsdale when action was called off for the day on Thursday.
Mickelson was reminded of his statistic of never missing the cut in his first tournament of the season after Wednesday's pro-am.
"And yet you want to bring that up," Mickelson was quoted on the PGA Tour's official Web site www.pgatour.com.
"That couldn't wait until Saturday morning?," he joked.
Nitties joined Glover in the clubhouse lead on 65 after a fine start which saw him make four birdies in a row from the third. He dropped a shot at the seventh but retrieved it immediately and finished with a flourish with a further pair of birdies.
Early starter Glover also made seven birdies and a bogey in the calm of the desert where low-scoring is traditional.
Two-time defending champion JB Holmes, who started at the 10th, birdied five in a row from the 13th but poor play his back nine saw him card a one-under 70.
David Berganio and Charley Hoffman are tied for third on 66, with Briny Baird, Kevin Na and Matt Kuchar a further shot back.