Camilo Villegas leads in Phoenix
Camilo Villegas shot a tournament record-equalling 62 to take the first-round lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Camilo Villegas stormed into the first-round lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at the TPC Scottsdale in Arizona on Thursday when he shot a tournament record-equalling nine-under-par 62
The 28-year-old Colombian made the most of calm morning conditions to card his lowest ever round on the PGA Tour and lead nearest rival Matt Every by a stroke.
Villegas was flawless as he followed three birdies on the front nine with six more after the turn, including a chip-in birdie on the last to continue his good form after finishing third at last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Englishman Justin Rose was part of a group of five players including Mark Wilson, Ryuji Imada, Rickie Fowler and Pat Perez tied for third three shots off the pace.
Rose is still searching for his first PGA Tour victory and carded eight birdies, but blemished his round with bogeys on the first and last.
Last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play champion Ian Poulter endured a difficult day as he finished with a one-over-par 72.
Poulter, who rose to the world number five ranking following his win last week, had at one staged dropped to three over as he struggled in the trickier afternoon conditions before birdies at 15 and 17 improved his hopes of making the cut on Friday.
The day, however, belonged to Villegas who put his good recent form down to a more relaxed approach.
“The way I’m approaching my golf is just, again, have fun,” he said.
“Just go out there and I’ve got nothing to lose. You go, you hit a putt, if it goes in, great; if it doesn’t, you just give a little smile and go to the next one.
“It seemed to work last week. I obviously played good today, and we’ll continue that good attitude and see what happens.”
Rose was content with his day’s work with a decision to add a new driver to his bag today paying rich dividends.
“I flushed it,” he said of his driver.
“I just kind of made an impulse decision yesterday. I was hitting the other one half decent, but just something didn’t feel right. I changed and really drove it well today.
“I played well. Eight birdies was good. The course was there for the taking today. Really calm, beautiful conditions to play golf.”
Reigning champion Kenny Perry carded a three-under-par 68 while Phil Mickelson, making his return after skipping the WGC-Accenture Match Play to be with his family, joined him six shots off the lead after teeing off in a later group.
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