Friday, February 02, 2018

2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open
(The 13th of 48 events in the US PGA TOUR Season)

Scottsdale, Arizona                     Feb. 1-4, 2018              Purse: $6,900,000 ($1,242,000 winner)
TPC Scottsdale     Par/Yards: 35-36—71/7,266 yards     500 FedExCup points to winner

First-Round Notes – Thursday, February 1, 2018

Weather: Sunny, with a high of 80. Wind SW 5-10 mph.

First-Round Leaderboard
Bill Haas
Rickie Fowler
Billy Horschel
Bryson DeChambeau
Chris Kirk
Chesson Hadley

Other Scores (Asian players)
Byeonghun An              68 (-3)
Hideki Matsuyama      69 (-2)
Sung Kang                     69 (-2)
C.T. Pan                        71 (E)
Anirban Lahiri              72 (+1)
K.J. Choi                       72 (+1)
Whee Kim                    73 (+2)
Si Woo Kim                  74 (+3)
Sangmoon Bae           74 (+3)

Bill Haas
Making his 10th start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2011 FedExCup champion Bill Haas made five birdies and an eagle-3 at No. 15 en route to a bogey-free 64. The 64 is his lowest score on the PGA TOUR since a second-round 64 at the 2017 Wyndham Championship.

Haas has previously held an 18-hole lead/co-lead seven times, but not since the 2014 Masters (T20). The only one of those events which resulted in victory was the 2010 Sanderson Farms Championship.

Haas previously collected top-10 finishes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2008 (T9) and 2013 (T6). In his most recent start at TPC Scottsdale before this week, he posted scores of 71-72-72-77—292 (+8) to finish 76th.

Haas, a six-time winner on the PGA TOUR, is in search of his first victory since the 2015 CareerBuilder Challenge.

First-Round Lead Notes
Since 2000, only three first-round leaders of the event have emerged victorious; 2000/Tom Lehman, 2013/Phil Mickelson, 2016/Hideki Matsuyama.

After last year’s first round, Matt Kuchar led Matsuyama and Brendan Steele by a stroke at 7-under 64.

Through 12 events in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season, five players have managed to convert an 18-hole lead/co-lead into victory. Most recently, Jon Rahm did so at the CareerBuilder Challenge. 

Chris Kirk
Chris Kirk made six birdies and one bogey, at his last hole of the day (No. 18), good for a 5-under 66.

Kirk is making his seventh-consecutive start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week, having never finished better than T24 (2013).

Kirk, a four-time winner on TOUR, is in search of his first win since the 2015 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational.  

Rickie Fowler
Following five straight pars to begin his round (No. 10), Rickie Fowler carded an eagle-3 at the 15th. He followed a bogey at No. 16 with birdies at Nos. 17, 18, 4 and 8, good for a 5-under 66.

Fowler’s 66 in round one marks his 10th-consecutive round in the 60s at TPC Scottsdale, dating to round four of 2015.

Fowler is making his 10th start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week, where he has collected three top-10 finishes; 2nd/2010, 2nd/2016 (playoff), T4/2017.

Fowler, a four-time winner on the PGA TOUR, is in search of his first win since the 2017 The Honda Classic. Prior to that, he won the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship, 2015 PLAYERS Championship and 2015 Dell Technologies Championship.

Billy Horschel
2014 FedExCup champion Billy Horschel made five birdies and no bogeys in round one to open with a 66, his lowest opening-round score by three shots in six starts at TPC Scottsdale.

Horschel comes into the week ranked T108 in first-round scoring average on the PGA TOUR (70.33).

Horschel is making his sixth start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, having finished T24 in both 2016 and 2017.

Horschel is the winner of four TOUR events, most recently at last year’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm, who moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings and No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking after his win at the CareerBuilder Challenge, birdied his final hole of the day, No. 9, to post a 4-under 67 in his third start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open (2015/T5 as an amateur, 2017/T16).

Rahm, a 2016 Arizona State University grad, hit 12 of 14 fairways in regulation and 14 of 18 greens.

Byeonghun An
Making his first PGA TOUR start in 2018, Byeonghun An shot a 3-under 68 to share 12th position after day one. The South Korean rolled in an 18-foot birdie on three which he followed up with a seven-foot birdie conversion at the next hole to turn in 33. An sandwiched his lone bogey of the round on 14 with birdies on the par five 13th and 15th holes through putts of 17 and 16 feet respectively.

In 2017, the 26-year-old An finished sixth in his debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, one of three top-10s he recorded last season. He held the joint halfway lead and the sole third round lead following rounds of 66, 66 and 65. He closed with a final round 73. An finished the season in 102nd position on the final FedExCup standings.

An played in four tournaments during fall, finishing T11 at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES on home soil and T32 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He missed the cut in two other events in his 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season so far.

He played in two European Tour tournaments before arriving in Phoenix, finishing T40 in Abu Dhabi and T6 in Dubai. Before turning professional, An won the 2009 U.S. Amateur, emerging as the youngest winner in the tournament’s history. He has won once on the European Tour and is chasing a first victory on the PGA TOUR.
An quotes
It was a good day overall. I missed a couple of birdie putts but made a bunch of par putts. Hit it into the water on 17 but made a good par save (from seven feet) and then made another good up and down from 40 yards on last hole for par too. It was a decent round of golf and my game was pretty solid today.
Hideki Matsuyama
2016 and 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Hideki Matsuyama birdied his final hole of the day, No. 9, to open with a 2-under 69.

With today’s 69, Matsuyama is now a perfect 17-17 in rounds of par-or-better at TPC Scottsdale. His only round of even par came in round two of 2015 (T2).

Matsuyama is making his fifth-consecutive start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he has yet to finish outside the top five; T4/2014, T2/2015, 1st/2016, 1st/2017. 

Apart from winning here in 2016 and 2017 through playoffs, the 25-year-old Matsuyama, a five-time PGA TOUR winner, finished T4 and T2 in 2014 and 2015 respectively. He has already achieved two top-five finishes in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Phil Mickelson
Making his 29th start in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, tying the all-time record for most (Gene Littler, Jim Ferrier and Jerry Barber), Phil Mickelson opened with a 1-under 70.  

Mickelson, who will begin round two six strokes back, was also six strokes back en route to his 1996 and 2005 victories at TPC Scottsdale. Following an opening-round, 11-under 60 in 2013, he held a four-stroke lead after 18 holes before winning his third Waste Management Phoenix Open title.     

Mickelson is hoping to become the first four-time winner of this event. Mark Calcavecchia, Gene Littler and Arnold Palmer also captured three tournament titles.

Mickelson’s 10 top-10 finishes in the event is the tournament record by one over Mark Calcavecchia.

Miscellaneous Notes
Six past Waste Management Phoenix Open champions are in the field: Hideki Matsuyama/2016, 2017 (69), Phil Mickelson/1996, 2005, 2013 (70), Kyle Stanley/2012 (73), Hunter Mahan/2010 (71), J.B. Holmes/2006, 2008 (72) and Aaron Baddeley/2007 (72).

J.J. Spaun withdrew during round one with an injury.

In the Ford “Drive for Your Ride” competition, the combined closet-to-the-pin tee shots on No. 16 in rounds one and two will win a 2018 Ford Expedition. Cameron Smith leads with his tee shot to 1’ 6”.

First-round Scoring Averages
Front 9             Back 9             Total                Cumulative
35.382             35.511             70.893             ---        

Bogey-free rounds at TPC Scottsdale:
R1: Bill Haas (64), Bryson DeChambeau (66), Billy Horschel (66), Chez Reavie (68), Ben Martin (69).



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