Bill Haas opened with a 7-under 64 to claim a two-shot lead after the first-round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Haas finished his first day at TPC Scottsdale with five birdies and one eagle, highlighted by a five-hole stretch of 5 under (birdie-birdie-par-eagle-birdie), en route to a bogey-free 64.
“I like playing in the desert, I love the turf, I love the grass, the greens are going to get firmer and firmer. I think it will put an emphasis on the driver, if you can drive it in the fairway, I still think you’ll see guys shoot good scores,” said Haas, a six-time winner on the PGA Tour.
“But if the wind stays down like this in perfect conditions, it’s fun golf.”
Rickie Fowler posted a 66, and was tied for second at 5 under, alongside Billy Horschel, Bryson DeChambeau, Chesson Hadley, and Chris Kirk.
The 28-year old Fowler, who has collected three top 5s (2nd/2010, 2nd/2016, T4/2017) in Scottsdale, finished his first round with four birdies and one eagle against one bogey.
“Just solid day. I think some good and bad all around. Managed the mistakes properly, made some good putts, so just nice to get off to a good start here,” said Fowler, who carded his 10th straight sub-70 round at the Stadium Course.
“Looking forward to getting kind of back in the mix after not being around for the weekend last week and off to a good start.
“Obviously you can’t win it the first couple days, but you can obviously take your self out of it.”
World No. 2 Jon Rahm birdied his final hole to sign for a 4-under 67 and join Brian Gay, Bubba Watson, Vaughn Taylor, and Gary Woodland at T7.
“Once I rolled that eagle putt in on 3 everything kind of shifted. The momentum started and I didn’t miss a single shot, I hit really quality shots and rolled a couple more in and one of them being on 18 it’s always a bonus to make a birdie on 18,” said Rahm, who hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens.
A logjam of 16 players are T12, headlined by Justin Thomas, who held the second position at 6 under, until making a mess of hole Nos. 16 (bogey) and 17 (double bogey) to drop to 3 under.
“16, 17 are two birdie holes and to play those 3-over today is definitely disappointing, but the fact that I did that and I’m still more than right there in a great position is definitely a positive note that I can leave today with,” said Thomas.
TOP 10: WM PHOENIX OPEN
1 Bill Haas -7
2 Rickie Fowler -5
2 Billy Horschel -5
2 Bryson DeChambeau -5
2 Chesson Hadley -5
2 Chris Kirk -5
7 Jon Rahm -4
7 Brian Gay -4
7 Bubba Watson -4
7 Vaughn Taylor -4
7 Gary Woodland -4
STAT LEADERS: ROUND 1
1 Charlie Beljan – 348.1 (+1, T95)
2 Martin Laird – 341.5 (-3, T12)
3 Grayson Murray – 334.3 (E, T65)
1 Jon Rahm – 85.7% (-4, T7)
2 Keegan Bradley – 78.6% (-3, T12)
2 Colt Knost – 78.6% (E, T65)
2 John Oda – 78.6% (+5, T124)
Greens In Regulation
1 Bill Haas – 88.9% (-7, 1)
1 Bubba Watson – 88.9% (-4, T7)
1 Ollie Schniederjans – 88.9% (-3, T12)
1 Francesco Molinari – 88.9% (-1, T46)
Putts Per GIR
1 Harris English – 1.538 (-3, T12)
2 Chesson Hadley – 1.545 (-5, T2)
2 Sung-hoon Kang – 1.545 (-2, T29)
2 Patrick Reed – 1.545 (E, T65)
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: ROUND 1
“I got to 2-under and then quickly 4-under with the eagle. So it felt nice and once you get a cushion like that you can free your swing up a little bit and the rest of the day was nice.”
– Bill Haas
Credits: ASAP Sports, Getty Images, PGA Tour Media