Phoenix Open: Bill Haas takes two-shot lead after first round in Arizona

Posted February 02, 2018

He was fresh off a final-round 75 to finish T54 at the Farmers Insurance Open, and had three straight missed cuts before that.

Haas shrugged off a late tee time to card seven-under-par 64 in front of a typically raucous and large crowd at TPC Scottsdale, two strokes ahead of a five-strong group including fellow American Rickie Fowler. If you're new to golf, you won't understand, but if you've watched this event before, you know that the crowds get rowdy, especially on the par-3 16th hole. You saw it with Tiger last week. "Just one of those days where they went in for me, so hopefully it will be one of those weeks". This season, Kim has only missed the one cut (at the RSM Classic) and has picked up a third at Mayakoba and 10th at the Tournament of Champions. Got lucky, I kind of hit a bad putt on two, but it hit the back of the cup and went in. Matsuyama's playing partner, Ricky Fowler of the United States, whom he beat in a four-hole playoff for his first title in 2016, sits in a five-way tie for second place at 5-under.

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Palmer won three times in a row in Phoenix from 1961-1963. "I heard a lot of nicknames in the past year", he said, "and Rahmbo is one I've always loved and always tried to encourage". From what I could tell, Woods looked sharper than expected around the greens and if he can start hitting fairways, arguably the best player of all-time should be able to contend for wins this season. However, we know what Simpson is capable of when in good form, and he really enjoys TPC Scottsdale, as he's finished 14th or better in each of his last five appearances, which includes a runner-up spot past year.

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Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, Si Woo Kim, Ryan Armour, Patton Kizzire, Jason Kokrak, Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau are among others in the field. That's one shot to the green and four while on it, if you're keeping track.

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