Day hanging in the PGA mix at Pebble Beach

Phil Mickelson shown last week in Phoenix is in the field for AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am 2018 this week

Defending champion and world number three Jordan Spieth will seek to bounce back from a rare missed cut last week, while McIlroy and Day are keen to build on recent strong performances.

DJ had eight birdies and one lone drop shot on his round today. "I was able to get back in it", said Mickelson.

Australian golfer Cameron Percy has emerged as a surprise contender after the first round of a star-studded Pebble Beach Pro Am. "So it was definitely a good day". As much as Johnson established his fondness for Pebble Beach early in his career, he also endured one of his biggest collapses there.

"You have to be a little bit more patient, but you also have to be very patient on the greens here because there's more traffic".

"There are a lot of really good players that are playing really well right now, so it's going to be tough for me to keep it", Johnson said.

On 29 holes since then, Mickelson has no bogeys and 11 birdies. "Now the scores are starting to come out".

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Hossler birdied the 16th and 17th and had a chance to take the lead on the par-five 18th until enough wind came up to make it a challenge.

"Any time you shoot a 5-under par round, you should be happy with it", Rahm, who tied for fifth at the event a year ago, told the Golf Channel.

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'I've just got to do the right things, prepare well, go through the right steps on the golf course to get myself into contention.

"The game's really close", Johnson said.

"It's hard to assess it, it's hard to explain it in words", Rahm said of his rapid ascent that includes four wins worldwide. He went over and abandoned me on Monday to go play Cypress (Point), which is understandable. Maybe the way that I have played, but not what I have accomplished.

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Throw in three courses to learn, some years when the weather can be brutal and bumpy greens and there are many players who have been apt to overlook its beauty.

Day and Mickelson fired six-under 65s on Monterey Peninsula, with Aaron Wise, Kevin Streelman and Steve Stricker joining the group in a tie for fifth.

McIlory is tied for 87th after carding a 74 in Friday's second round.

Making matters worse, McIlroy was within four shots of the lead when he started the fifth hole.

Though Hossler moves to Monterey Peninsula CC, the easiest of the three courses, on Saturday, it's still advantage Johnson, given his ranking, his form and his history at Pebble Beach.

Despite the venue's fame, the event had been mostly ignored by the world's elite in recent years but it has regained its attraction with the top players embracing the pro-am format.

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