American trio in pole position after Phoenix Open first round
Ireland’s Seamus Power hits opening day 71 at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona
Justin Thomas tees off on the 16th hole tee box during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Photograph: Getty Images/PGA Tour
The American pair both shot clean rounds in Scottsdale, with Thomas carding five birdies across six holes of the back nine to grab a share of the lead.
Fowler holed an eagle putt on the par-5 13th on his way to 64, matched by Harold Varner who also went round in seven-under.
Scotland’s Martin Laird is a shot behind, having started his round with a birdie-bogey-eagle, while England’s Tyrrell Hatton is tied for 6th on five under.
Matsuyama won the title in 2016 and 2017 and was gunning for a third-straight in 2018 when he was forced to withdraw with a wrist injury.
His round of 68 was enough for joint 27th alongside 12 other players, including partner and defending champion Gary Woodland, and Phil Mickelson who is making a record 30th appearance in the event.
Ireland’s Seamus Power - teeing off for his opening round on the back nine - hit three birdies and as many bogeys to finish even par for day one.
First round scores and totals in the USPGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open (USA unless stated)
64 Justin Thomas , Harold Varner III , Rickie Fowler
65 JT Poston , Martin Laird (Sco)
66 Charley Hoffman , Byeong-Hun An (Kor), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Scott Piercy , Bubba Watson
67 Matthew Wolff , Nick Watney , Xander Schauffele, Brian Gay , Andrew Landry , Branden Grace (Rsa), David Hearn (Can), Matt Kuchar , Tom Hoge , Webb Simpson , Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Trey Mullinax , Cameron Smith (Aus), Ollie Schniederjans, Jon Rahm (Spa), John Huh
68 Bud Cauley , Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Ryan Palmer, Gary Woodland , Keegan Bradley , Kevin Na, Phil Mickelson , Grayson Murray , Freddie Jacobson (Swe), Russell Henley , James Hahn , Morgan Hoffmann
69 Andrew Putnam , Richy Werenski , Kevin Tway, J.J. Spaun , Luke List , Rory Sabbatini (Svk), Alex Noren (Swe), Brian Harman , Stewart Cink , Alex Cejka (Ger), Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Denny McCarthy , J.B. Holmes, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Ted Potter, Jr. , Sungjae Im (Kor), Brandt Snedeker
70 Adam Schenk , Carlos Ortiz (Mex), Sung Kang (Kor), Beau Hossler, Cameron Champ , Hunter Mahan , Abraham Ancer (Mex), Max Homa, Stephan Jaeger (Ger), Sam Burns , Michael Kim , John Catlin, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven), Kevin Kisner , Brandon Harkins
71 Brian Stuard , Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Seamus Power (Irl), Chez Reavie , Robert Streb, Bronson Burgoon , Daniel Berger , Kyung Ju Choi (Kor), Billy Horschel , Chris Kirk , Chris Stroud, Zach Johnson , Chesson Hadley , Chase Wright, Kevin Streelman , Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Ryan Blaum, Russell Knox (Sco)
72 Steve Stricker , Sam Ryder , Brandon Hagy , Adam Hadwin (Can), Harris English , Danny Lee (Nzl), Tony Finau , Sean O’Hair, Jimmy Walker , Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Nick Taylor (Can)
73 Jason Kokrak , Scott Stallings , Vaughn Taylor, Cody Gribble , Jonas Blixt (Swe), Blair Hamilton (Can), Kenny Perry , Talor Gooch , Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai), Patton Kizzire , Ryan Moore
74 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Adam Long , Lucas Glover, Ryan Armour , Keith Mitchell , Brice Garnett, Si Woo Kim (Kor)
75 Joel Dahmen , Brendan Steele , Kyle Stanley, Anders Albertson , Kelly Kraft
76 Peter Uihlein , Bill Haas , Austin Cook, Patrick Rodgers , Tyler Duncan , Jim Herman
77 Colt Knost
79 Michael Hopper , Whee Kim (Kor)