Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas put on a show in Scottsdale, and everything else you missed from Round 1 of the WMPO

February 1, 2019

It’s been nearly two years since Rickie Fowler’s last Tour victory, the 2017 Honda Classic, but the perennial fan favorite is off to a very hot start in Scottsdale this week.

Here’s what you missed from Round 1 of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

Rickie and JT stole the show

Bogey-free rounds of seven-under-par 64 powered Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas to an early seat at the top of the leaderboard. Thomas made seven birdies, while Rickie’s round was highlighted by five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 13th hole.

The two friends are sharing a house for the week and relish the opportunity to one-up each other. “I wanted bragging rights at dinner tonight,” Fowler said after his round.

While there’s plenty of golf ahead of these two, Thomas has never finished better than T17 at TPC Scottsdale, while Rickie has been inside the top 11 for each of his last three appearances — including a runner-up finish in 2016. 

 

Phil Mickelson had a relatively quiet day

After lighting it up in La Quinta two weeks ago, Phil Mickelson’s first day in Scottsdale was somewhat lacking in fireworks, comparatively speaking. Still, two birdies late on the back nine (including a crowd-pleasing approach to eight feet on 18, which he drained for a closing birdie) helped lift him from leaderboard obscurity onto solid ground at three under par overall.

There’s perhaps no player more beloved at TPC Scottsdale than ASU-grad Mickelson, who is one of only four players who have won the Phoenix Open three times.

 

Harold Varner III made EIGHT birdies

The birdie award of the day goes to Harold Varner III, who had EIGHT red numbers in round one (including a sweet one on the infamous 16th, shown below). Varner III would lead the tournament outright, were it not for a pesky three-putt bogey on No. 2.

Varner III has accumulated nine career top 10s on the PGA Tour, but is still seeking his first win.