Nick Taylor earned a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Thursday, while defending champion Phil Mickelson shot a 68.

Canadian golfer and one-time PGA Tour winner Taylor carded a bogey-free eight-under-par 63 in California.

Playing Monterey Peninsula Country Club, Taylor – who claimed his only title via the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship – birdied his final two holes to move clear of Patrick Cantlay.

Taylor finished with six birdies and an eagle as American Cantlay navigated the Spyglass Hill Golf Course.

Cantlay posted a six-under-par 66 to be second alongside countryman Chase Seiffert, who played Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Mickelson’s title defence opened with a four-under-par 68 on the Spyglass Hill Golf Course.

After enduring a difficult 2019 – missing nine cuts in 23 events – five-time major champion Mickelson impressed in round one on Thursday.

Mickelson only dropped one shot, holing five birdies, including his last three holes.

“I drove it like a stallion,” five-time Pebble Beach Pro-Am champion Mickelson said. “Hit almost every fairway. And when you’re doing that you can get aggressive and get after it.”

Mickelson is tied for fourth alongside Charl Schwartzel, Greg Chalmers, Matthew NeSmith, Justin Suh, Matt Jones, Chez Reavie, Kevin Chappell, Jonathan Byrd, Jim Herman, Jason Day and Wyndham Clark.

Former world number one Dustin Johnson shot a first-round 69, while 2017 champion and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth carded a 70.