Four players in lead after suspended first round of Waste Management Open
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – The annual anti-PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open event opened up the 2011 edition in typical fashion on Thursday. The PGA Tour’s usual decorum is stood on it’s head here at the TPC Scottsdale and the normally staid code of behavior is replaced by outright rowdiness, and the Tour actually embraces it. A more appropriate name would be the Wasted Management Phoenix Open.
Highlighted by the stadium seating at the par 3 16th hole where the style of behavior is more like a football game or UFC fight, the normal attendance for the week is a Woodstock like 400,000, easily the largest of the year for the Tour. Throw in the fact that it is Super Bowl Sunday the final day and you have a recipe for a major league party.
Thursday’s proceedings got off to a frosty start with a cold weather delay of four hours. Only the morning tee times, who played in the afternoon, were able to finish the first round. Of the finishers four were tied for the lead, Tom Gillis, Bill Haas, Jason Bohn and 51 year old Scottsdale resident Tom Lehman.
Lehman enjoyed himself despite the cold. “It was a good day. I got off to just a mediocre start, just a bunch of pars and then a chip-in on 5, then a save on 6 and then a birdie on 7 and then a bogey on 9 but then birdie on 10 and then a really strong finish. I really just kind of started getting into the flow of my swing. I started hitting the ball better and better and better as the day went on. So I'm happy; there's three rounds to go, but it was a good start.”
Bill Haas, playing in a featured pairing with last week’s primary antagonists Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson for the Southpaw Showdown, Part 2, outplayed them with his 65. “The front nine, my back nine, I did play nice. I really started swinging well there. But I had a terrible warmup this morning, was frustrated. I think I'm getting a little maybe – was getting tired, but I had a nice two days off here since we didn't get to play the first couple days due to frost. But kind of got lucky on the back nine, was able to hold it in there and played nice coming in.”
Lucas Glover, Chris Couch and Ben Crane signed for 66’s and were a stroke back. Playing his final nine holes in short sleeves, Mickelson hit the ball well and was two back at 67. “It wasn't too bad. I expected the golf course to be frozen and balls to be bouncing on the greens quite a ways. It played terrific. The greens were receptive.”
First Round Leaderboard:*
1) Bill Haas (USA) 65 (-6)
Tom Gillis (USA)
Tom Lehman (USA)
Jason Bohn (USA)
5) Chris Couch (USA) 66 (-5)
Ben Crane (USA)
Lucas Glover (USA)
(*Not all players have finished their first round yet.)Written by Wayne Mills
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