Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Harold Varner III share the lead after the opening round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Thursday.
Out in the morning, friends Fowler and Thomas signed for seven under 64s around TPC Scottsdale, enough for a one stroke lead over JT Poston and Scot Martin Laird.
Fowler enjoyed a bright start, finding himself three under after four holes thanls to an eagle on the 13th. The world number 14 rolled in three birdies coming home and almost had fourth on the par four ninth, his last, with a stunning effort from 24 foot. He knew that would have put him ahead of Thomas, who is under the same roof as Fowler this week.
Rickie at @WMPhoenixOpen:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) 31 January 2019
“I was really hoping I was going to make that last putt,” the American said of his birdie effort.
“I hit it perfect and it kind of…I thought it was going to break a little more at the end, it didn’t. We’re sharing a house this week, so I wanted bragging rights at dinner tonight.”
Thomas was also bogey-free for his 64 with five gains on the front nine, while Varner joined the pair in the afternoon, thanks to a 31-foot putt on the stadium hole at the 16th, which he punctuated with a dab.
— Harold Varner III (@HV3_Golf) 1 February 2019
Further down the leaderboard, two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson is on five under while world number six Jon Rahm is on four under after his 67.
“Usually when you’re around five under and leading after the first round, it tends to go to around the 10 to 15 under region.”
Woods sported a slightly longer putter at Harind Park than fans are usually accustomed to seeing.
After the opening salvo of his PGA Championship title defence, Brooks Koepka is a confident man.
Former world number one Jason Day and American Brendon Todd share the lead.
Koepka is part of a nine-strong group on four under in California.
Tiger Woods is also in the mix after an opening-round 68.
Koepka carded an opening four-under-par 66 to trail Jason Day by a stroke while Woods was two shots further back.
The American is targeting a third consecutive US PGA Championship title.
The Northern Irishman won the last of his four major titles in 2014.