PGA Tour

Haas grabs 2-stroke lead in Phoenix

2018-02-02 06:42
Bill Haas (AFP)

Los Angeles - Bill Haas fired an eagle and five birdies to seize a two-stroke lead at the PGA Tour Phoenix Open on Thursday, with plenty of big names within striking distance. 

Haas sparkled before the raucous crowds at TPC Scottsdale, teeing off on the 10th hole and making the turn five-under. 

He rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt at the par-five 15th, and gave himself a three-footer for birdie at the par-three 16th -- delighting the massive gallery at the "stadium" hole. 

Haas said salvaging a par after two bad shots at 11 steadied him. He rolled in a 13-footer for birdie at 12 and birdied the par-five 13th despite hitting into a native area off the tee. 

"The holes where the last few weeks I've been missing all those putts, I made them today," said Haas, who won the most recent of his six PGA Tour titles at the 2015 CareerBuilder Challenge. 

Two birdies coming in gave him a seven-under par who teed off at the 10th hole, surged to a seven-under par 64. 

He was two strokes in front of Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel, Bryson DeChambeau, Chesson Hadley and Chris Kirk.

World number two Jon Rahm of Spain headed a group on 67, alongside two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, Brian Gay, Vaughn Taylor and Gary Woodland. 

Two-time defending champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan got his three-peat bid off to a quiet start with a 69, while Jordan Spieth settled for a one-over par 72. 

Fowler, who lost to Matsuyama in a playoff two years ago, teed off in chilly early morning weather but warmed up with an eagle at the par-five 15th, where he fired a five-wood to within two feet. 

"I knew going out early this morning when it was cold the first few holes on the back nine can jump up and get you if you're not careful," Fowler said. "I feel like I eased into the round nicely - hit a great little five-wood into the par-five 15th and made eagle there, kind of got things going." 

Fowler is coming off a missed cut at Torrey Pines last weekend, but said he thought his game was not far off. 

"Last week was a little hiccup, just made a few too many mistakes," he said.

Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the US PGA Tour Phoenix Open in Arizona (USA unless noted, par-71):

64 - Bill Haas

66 - Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel, Bryson DeChambeau, Chesson Hadley, Chris Kirk

67 - Jon Rahm (ESP), Brian Gay, Bubba Watson, Vaughn Taylor, Gary Woodland

68 - Peter Uihlein, Xander Schauffele, Greg Chalmers (AUS), Steve Stricker, Keegan Bradley, Harris English, Martin Laird (SCO), Chez Reavie, Chad Campbell, Ollie Schniederjans, Daniel Berger, Nick Watney, Justin Thomas, Brendan Steele, Emiliano Grillo (ARG), John Huh, An Byeong-Hun (KOR)

Read more on:    phoenix open  |  bill haas  |  golf
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