Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas upset with rowdy Phoenix fans
Bill Haas leads the way in Arizona but some players felt the fans went too far at times
Shane Lowry of Ireland watches his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Bill Haas found his long lost putting touch and rode his luck for a two-stroke lead in the opening round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona on Thursday.
On a day when Rickie Fowler was heckled by the raucous gallery, and Player of the Year Justin Thomas had a late meltdown, Haas “got lucky” on the greens as he recorded a seven-under-par 64 at TPC Scottsdale.
Meanwhile, Shane Lowry was to rue a good round that got away . Starting at the 10th the Irishman notched up a birdie straight away before following it with another at the 13th. However, a costly double bogey at the following hole – despite the two subsequent birdies he made at the 15th and 16th – meant he went out in 34 but it could have been so much better. Two bogeys and a single birdie on the way in meant that he slipped further back, eventually signing for an opening round of 71, one under par, to sit six shots off the lead.
Leader Haas said afterwards that, “the putter was hot the first nine holes,” after a round that included a 30-foot birdie at the second hole, his 11th.
“I kind of hit a bad putt but it hit the back of the cup and went in,” he said.
“So one of those days where I could have easily three-putted that if it had run by, but it went in and saved two shots there basically.”
After starting the season with two missed cuts followed by a tie for 54th, Haas was not getting too carried away by his good start.
“This is only one round,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m cured (of recent putting woes) by any means.”
Fowler joined a group of four fellow Americans at five-under 66, with his lone bogey coming at the par-three 16th hole, which is famous for its rowdy fans who eschew usual golf etiquette by routinely booing bad shots.
But Fowler thought they went too far.
“I may be somewhat of a fan favorite, but they weren’t holding back,” he said.
“I was a little disappointed in some of the stuff that was said and I don’t want much negativity -- the normal boos for missing a green, that’s fine, but leave the heckling to a minimum and make it fun.”
Thomas also heard from the gallery when he ran up a double-bogey at the 16th, and he also made a mess of the par-four 17th, where he pitched his second shot from 50 yards over the green into a water hazard on his way to a bogey.
“Two birdie holes and to play those three-over today is definitely disappointing, but the fact that I did that and I’m still more than right there in a great position is definitely a positive note that I can leave today with,” he said after shooting a 68.
Thomas was also upset by the crowd, particularly a scream from a spectator during Jordan Spieth’s tee shot at the last.
“That girl just yelled right in Jordan’s down swing,” Thomas said. “I was so upset. It doesn’t matter who it is, whether it’s me or Jordan or anybody else in the field, I mean there’s just no place for that.”
Collated first round scores in the USPGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open, TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America, TPC Scottsdale, United States of America (Irish in bold, par 71):
64 Bill Haas (USA)
66 Chris Kirk (USA), Bryson DeChambeau (USA), Chesson Hadley (USA), Billy Horschel (USA), Rickie Fowler (USA),
67 Vaughn Taylor (USA), Jon Rahm (Esp), Brian Gay (USA), Gary Woodland (USA), Bubba Watson (USA),
68 Nick Watney (USA), Byeong-Hun An (Kor), Chez Reavie (USA), Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Daniel Berger (USA), Chad Campbell (USA), Justin Thomas (USA), Peter Uihlein (USA), Ollie Schniederjans (USA), Martin Laird (Sco), Steve Stricker (USA), Xander Schauffele (USA), Greg Chalmers (Aus), Harris English (USA), Keegan Bradley (USA), Brendan Steele (USA), John Huh (USA)
69 Brian Stuard (USA), Bud Cauley (USA), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Scott Stallings (USA), Cody Gribble (USA), Ben Martin (USA), Tony Finau (USA), Marc Leishman (Aus), Dominic Bozzelli (USA), Nick Taylor (Can), Luke List (USA), Sung Kang (Kor), Kevin Chappell (USA), Kevin Na (USA), Cameron Smith (Aus), Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Brandt Snedeker (USA),
70 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Jason Kokrak (USA), Martin Flores (USA), Austin Cook (USA), Adam Hadwin (Can), John Peterson (USA), Jamie Lovemark (USA), Derek Fathauer (USA), Shane Lowry (Irl), Russell Henley (USA), Tyrone Van Aswegen (RSA), Beau Hossler (USA), Jonas Blixt (Swe), Patton Kizzire (USA), Ian Poulter, Ryan Armour (USA), James Hahn (USA), Camilo Villegas (Col)
71 Benjamin Silverman (Can), Robert Garrigus (USA), Colt Knost (USA), Ryan Palmer (USA), Grayson Murray (USA), Patrick Reed (USA), Zach Johnson (USA), Alex Noren (Swe), Lucas Glover (USA), Scott Piercy (USA), William McGirt (USA), Kevin Streelman (USA), Hunter Mahan (USA), Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai), Michael Kim (USA), Brandon Harkins (USA), Ryan Moore (USA)
72 Charley Hoffman (USA), Hudson Swafford (USA), Fabian Gomez (Arg), Webb Simpson (USA), Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Phil Mickelson (USA), Richy Werenski (USA), J.B. Holmes (USA), Kyung Ju Choi (Kor), Patrick Rodgers (USA), Jordan Spieth (USA), Cameron Tringale (USA), Anirban Lahiri (Ind)
73 Scott Brown (USA), Retief Goosen (RSA), Harold Varner III (USA), Kyle Stanley (USA), Andrew Landry (USA), Matt Every (USA), Charlie Beljan (USA), Tom Hoge (USA), Danny Lee (Nz), Whee Kim (Kor), Kevin Tway (USA), Blayne Barber (USA), Tyler Duncan (USA)
74 Peter Malnati (USA), Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Geoff Ogilvy (Aus), Robert Streb (USA), Alex Cejka (De), Si Woo Kim (Kor), D.A. Points (USA), Wyndham Clark (USA), Billy Hurley III (USA), Tom Lovelady (USA), Sang-moon Bae (Kor), Richard H. Lee (USA), Russell Knox (Sco)
75 Ricky Barnes (USA), Wesley Bryan (USA), Smylie Kaufman (USA)
76 John Oda (USA), Ryan Blaum (USA), Morgan Hoffmann (USA)
77 Chris Stroud (USA)
78 Julian Suri (USA)
79 Kelly Kraft (USA), Andrew Loupe (USA)
80 Jesse Mueller (USA)
WD JJ Spaun (USA)