Waste Management Phoenix Open. Martin Laird Loves Scottsdale.

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Martin Laird loves Scottsdale, he leads the Waste Management Phoenix Open after three rounds at TPC Scottsdale.

 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Martin Laird / Getty Images

Martin carded a third round -3 under par 68 and leads the Waste Management Phoenix Open by three shots with a -13 under par tournament total. With all the young players around him Martin said he felt pretty old, and was happy to roll in a few putts;

“I felt like an old man in the group, it’s been a long time since I have been the first one hitting every shot every hole.”

“Today was a little bit of everything, hit some of the best shots I have had all week, and also hit some of the worst shots.”

“It’s always nice when you’re making some putts, and I poured in a few nice ones today.”

“I putted solid the first two days. I didn’t really miss any I felt like I should have made, I just didn’t really make any,”

“I feel like I’ve been putting really well, and it’s one of those things, just keep doing what you’re doing and one day it’s going to get good and go in. That just happened to be today for me.”

“I have been practicing hard and getting ready. I really like this stretch of tournaments I’ve got here, and obviously like playing at home and being here. I was looking forward to this week.”

Three strokes adrift is Hideki Matsuyama at -10 under par for the competition, a magical -8 under par 63 third round elevating him quickly up the leaderboard, and into contention for the title, tied in second place with Zach Johnson and Brooks Koepka.

Zach was full of fighting talk for tomorrow’s final round, especially the finishing holes, the island-green par-5 15th, short par-3, 16th and the easily driveable 332 yard par-4, 17th. They can lead to quick changes on the leaderboard;

“The tournament is not over until you get to that stretch.”

“If there is rough, I like the golf course. If the four to ten footers mean a lot, I like the golf course.”

“I felt like my game was coming and I wanted to kind of end the West Coast on at least a somewhat sweet note rather than a bitter note.”

Brooks is known as a wandering global golfer, he came to this tournament after a short break from his travels;

“I had played so much over the last two years, I got a little tired of golf, tired of the travel. It’s been a long two years, but the break was good for me.”

Hideki won last year’s Memorial Tournament and said it was his biggest win to date;

“I think obviously the Memorial would be my biggest win.”

“I don’t know how that’s going to translate going into Sunday. I don’t know if that’s going to help, but I hope that I can play tomorrow like I did today and have a good day.”

 

Waste Management Phoenix Open. Darkness Descends on the Desert.

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Darkness descends over the Arizona desert, suspending the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, at TPC Scottsdale, with Ryan Palmer leading. Play was suspended at 5:45 p.m. MT because of the gloom, leaving nine players, out of the 132 starters, to complete their opening rounds on Friday.

At the 16th hole Ryan gave away a dozen golf balls to excited fans, they were wrapped with a $10 dollar bill, with the message “Have a beer on me”

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Ryan shot an opening round of -7 under par 64 to lead the Waste Management Phoenix Open by just one shot at TPC Scottsdale.

Wasye Management Phoenix Open

Ryan Palmer / Getty Images

Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Daniel Berger are tied second place at -6 under par after their opening efforts of 66.

Bubba said he had a great day;

“A couple breaks went my way right there in the middle stretch of the back nine which kept me going.”

“All in all it was a great day.”

The much heralded return of a resurgent Tiger Woods did not amount to much, he carded a first round +2 over par 73, even though he drove the green on the par 4, 17th hole, a distance of 341 yards. He seems to be struggling with his chipping around the greens, do you think it could be the dreaded Chipping Yips ?

Tiger explained;

“I’m just having a hard time finding the bottom. Because of my old pattern, I was so steep on it, that I have a new grind on my wedge and sometimes it’s hard to trust.”

“I’m ahead of schedule on my speed, look how far I’m hitting it now. I’ve just got to get committed to hitting the club less sometimes. That’s the hard part. I bailed out on a couple of shots because I just don’t believe I have that much speed on my body yet. But I do.”

“This is my second tournament in six months, so I just need tournament rounds like this where I can fight through it, turn it around, grind through it and make adjustments on the fly.”

The second-round tee times are still expected to begin on time at TPC Scottsdale, with the groups starting off the first and 10th tees at 7:30 a.m. The remaining nine players will resume their opening rounds before continuing on with their second rounds. There could also be more delays during the second round, weather forecasts predict a 90 percent chance of rain on Friday with up to a quarter-inch of precipitation expected.

 

 

 

 

 

Waste Management Phoenix Open. Bubba Blunders, Stadler Soars.

dragon logo dark Kevin Stadler soared to his 1st professional win on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, as Bubba Watson makes a huge blunder.

Chance not wasted

Kevin Stadler / Getty Images

 Kevin got his first career win on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, at TPC Scottsdale, joining his father Craig as a winner on the PGA TOUR. Kevin shot a final round -3 under par 68 for his winning total of -16 under par.

Kevin and Craig are the ninth father-son combination to win on TOUR, and the thought had crossed Kevin’s mind.  He now has an invitation to the Masters, where he will get to play alongside Craig, who won the tournament in 1982.;

“That was in the forefront of my mind when I was out there.”

Craig added;

 “He’s obviously getting on in his career.”

Kevin joked that it was nearly too late, and it was a tough haul to get there;

“He probably would have liked it better if I had gotten there five years ago so he could call it quits then. He’s been telling me for a couple of years I need to hurry up and get there before he calls it quits. It wasn’t pretty, I was walking all over the shop. I hit a lot of good shots and a lot of kind of ugly shots but thankfully it all worked out. It feels fantastic, obviously I would have liked to make that putt there on 18 and win that way but it’s been a long time coming, so I’ll take it any way I can get it.”

Bubba eventually faltered, sending his approach shot on the final hole off the back of the green en route to a bogey and a final round of even par 71 and a tournament total of -15 under par, sharing second place with Graeme DeLaet;

He admitted his mistakes;

“Misclubbed on sixteen, we thought it was downwind but obviously it wasn’t. Should have hit one more club. I thought I hit a good putt but obviously I misread that too. I have to work on a couple things.”

Graeme said his practice has been paying off, a tied second place here at -15 under par proves it;

“I have been playing well for the last few months, it seems. I really feel like I worked super hard in the offseason, and it’s nice to see it paying off.”

The only thing Phil Mickelson got right this week-end was the Super-Bowl prediction;

“I like the Seahawks, I think that good defense usually beats good offense, and I think that the man-to-man coverage that the Seahawks provide is going to make it difficult for that quick release of Manning.”

The hot favorites around the World let it slip this week-end, Lydia Ko second in New Zealand, Rory McIlroy failing in Dubai, and now Bubba Watson wasting ( no pun intended) an opportunity here in Scottsdale. Golf is truly a funny game.

 

Waste Management Phoenix Open. It’s Bubba By Two.

dragon logo dark  Bubba Watson leads the Waste Management Phoenix Open by two shots on the TPC Scottsdale course going into the final day.

Escape artist

Bubba blasting from the desert / Getty Images

Bubba found only two fairways on his back nine but still carded a third round -3 under par 68, to lead the tournament at -15 under par. His drive on the par five thirteenth went into a desert bush and settled next to a burrowing animal hole, that would have interfered with his swing, giving Bubba a free drop;

“Right next to my ball was a burrowing animal hole and my club was going to hit it at impact. It was a big hole and the club would get caught on it, so, I got a free drop and could easily wedge it out. I was looking at a twenty or thirty yard shot. I held it together, stayed focused on what I was trying to do. Made a nice up-and-down on seventeen for birdie. Tough lie on eighteen and somehow two-putted to have a little lead. Luckily, nobody went crazy on me.”

Bubba is worried about slow play, he wants to watch the Super-Bowl;

“The back nine just got real slow and sluggish and I just kind of lost focus a little bit on my tee shots. We need to be under five hours tomorrow. I want to watch the Super Bowl.”

Kevin Stadler, a Scottsdale resident,{ lucky boy, I love the place} is in second place at -13 under par, following his third round of -4 under par 67.

“It was packed out there, it’s something you only experience once a year.”

Ryan Moore carded a -7 under par 64 to join Harris English and Hideki Matsuyama at -12 under Par.  Brendan Steele who roared round in -9 under par 62, the best round of the week, Matt Jones, and 2010 winner Hunter Mahan are tied at -11 under par.

Ryan casually mentioned his putting, a man after my own heart;

“Made a couple bonus putts.”

Hunter didn’t make a par on the back nine until the 18th hole, birdies or bogey’s up until then.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson is way down the score board, his third round +1 over par 72. Phil amazingly made a double bogey on the par three sixteenth, when he half-shanked his tee shot left on the 128-yard hole. He followed that with a weak flop shot into the bunker, blasted to eight feet and two-putted for a double bogey five.

Phil summed it up thus;

“It was a gap wedge. It was pathetic, I don’t even know what to say. I don’t remember ever hitting a shot like that even in practice.”

Looks like Lefty will be handing the trophy over to another left-hander.

Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

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Bubba Watson and Matt Jones share the lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open going into the week-end at TPC Scottsdale.

On a roll

Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba  dressed in  lime green shoes and an otherwise all-black outfit, played in the morning, getting the best side of the draw, he birdied his first hole. Playing early in the cooler temperature does not suit him, back is a little stiff, but he said he is exactly where he wanted to be. Happily at the top of the leaderboard after his second round of -5 under par 66, for his -12 under par total;

“Back is not as loose as you want it to be, weather is not as warm as you want it to be. But I hit a good tee shot, and then I hit my wedge in there close and I made the putt, that got me going. It’s right where I want to be going into the weekend. I had two sloppy bogeys coming down the stretch, but I will take it.” 

Matt also played a morning round, and was thankful for the opportunity to be able to shoot his second consecutive -6 under par 65 for his -12 under par;

 ” We definitely got the good side of the draw. The golf course is so different tournament week than it is when you play out here regularly. It’s a lot harder, a lot faster. The greens are a lot quicker. The pins are a lot more tucked out here. So, it’s like a new golf course when you come here for a tournament.”

Two players are tied in third place, Greg Chalmers and Harris English are at -10 under par.

Brandt Snedeker shot the low round of the day, he also started in the morning, before the wind got up. His second round score of -7 under par 64 moving up the leaderboard to be at -8 under par. Brandt put his special round down to good putting, something I love to hear;

” My putting, plain and simple. I hit the ball extra good yesterday and had some of the worst putting I had all year. Today, I kind of did the opposite.”

Phil Mickelson, the Defending Champion, recovered with a bogey free  -4 under par 67, but he is still a long way from the leaders. Phil declared he is still in the race for this title;

” I’m not totally out of it, obviously heading into the weekend, I’d like to be closer, but as we have seen in the past, there is that minus eight, nine ten, and in some cases eleven-under par round out there. My back feels great, like I said, it was a simple fix. I just don’t want to overdo it.”

Among those missing the cut here are, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Retief Goosen, Ian Poulter and Keegan Bradley.

Waste Management Phoenix Open. Y.E. and Bubba Share Lead.

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Y.E. Yang and Bubba Watson share the first round lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, at TPC Scottsdale. I like this course.

Superb in Scottsdale

Y.E. Yang and Bubba Watson / Getty Images

Bubba said right now he is in a good spot, not too nervous, after shooting an opening round of -7 under 64;

“If you look at my career, from junior golf, to college golf, to mini tours to now the Web.com Tour, to the PGA TOUR, I got to a level and I got out of my comfort zone. I get comfortable, and then I step up a new level and I get nervous again. Hopefully I’m at a stepping-stone where I’ve learned, now if I win a few more, I get nervous again. Right now I’m in a good spot.”

“This golf course, if your ball-striking is good, you can shoot some good numbers here. Hit a lot of greens, didn’t make too many mistakes, didn’t miss too many fairways. Just played solid.”

Through an interpreter Y.E. announced he is going to be aggressive;

“I think you have to be aggressive, at the same time, you can’t be too aggressive. You have to really balance it out, but you still have to be a little bit more aggressive than other tournaments.”

There are seven players tied in third place at -6 under par, all carding first rounds of 65, they are;  Pat Perez, Kevin Stadler, Matt Jones, Harris English, William McGirt, Greg Chalmers and Chris Kirk.

Harris actually birdied Nos. 12 thru 15 to top the leaderboard at -8 under par, but then followed that with bogey’s at the par-3 16th,  the rowdy stadium hole, where he hit an 8-iron over the green on the 178-yard hole. Then the par-4 18th, he said he was a little over the top on the par 3 tee;

“I guess I was a little juiced up on that tee, I left myself with an impossible up-and-down.”

TPC Scottsdale’s favorite player, Phil Mickleson, opened with an even par round of 71, and a long way back for this favorite son.

Phil thinks the same as me, he just loves playing here;

“It’s fun to be back here, I love playing here. I wasn’t as sharp as I need to be, for sure. Playing the last five holes at three over,  that was really bad. Fifteen really stung, it was only a twelve  or fifteen footer, and I am thinking eagle. I roll it 6 feet by and I miss it coming back. That was costly. I got off to a poor start, played a couple over, and finished poorly. In the middle of the round, though, I hit a lot of good shots and had a good little run, but it just wasn’t quite sharp. I wasn’t quite focused on every shot the way I need to be and let way too many shots slide.”

Phil also reported that his troublesome back is now in fine shape;

“It’s fine, honestly, it’s no big deal, it was a five-minute fix. I just have to be careful for a week or two as it heals up. It’s fine. Mobility is back. It’s just not a big deal. It happens every now and then. Last time was about four years ago.”

Waste Management Phoenix Open, Wire to Wire Win For Phil

Never a doubt

Phil Mickleson / Martin / Getty Images

Phil Mickleson won the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale by four shots, going wire to wire for a dominating victory. Phil’s final score was -28 under par, after he rounded out his tournament with a -4 under par 67 last round. With this win Phil moved to No. 3 in the race for the FedEx Cup after earning 500 points for his victory at TPC Scottsdale. Phil said how important the win was for him;

” It’s an important one for me, because it’s been a while since I won, been a while since I’ve been in contention, I was certainly nervous heading into today. I think the thing I’m most excited about was the way I was able to regain control of my thoughts after a few shots early on that I didn’t care for. I think that sets up the tone for the rest of the year, because I really started to play well, but for me, the rest of the year took a turn on Tuesday when I got my new driver. It just changed my whole deal.”

Brandt Snedeker finished in second place with a total score of -24 under par, his last round effort of -6 under par was not quite enough to bother Phil.

Brandt said that Phil had played unbelievable golf;

Brandt Snedeker / Helen Ross PGATOUR.COM

“It was a ton of fun, to be in the last group with Phil and kind of trade birdie for birdie and make up some ground was a lot of fun. It’s what we play for. I wish I could have put some more pressure on him and got a little closer than I did today, but I think I shot 12 under par on the weekend and made one bogey. Sometimes you have to tip your hat and say Phil played unbelievable and deserved to win, and that’s kind of what this week was all about. I feel like I’m running into the Hall of Famers every week, it would be nice if they weren’t in the field and I could go ahead and go after it. It’s just tough, you know. It was fun to watch, fun to be part of, you want to win those, and hopefully I will soon.”

 

Scott Piercy finished in third place after he fired the best round of the last day, a -10 under par 61, that elevated him up the leaderboard to finish with a total of -23 under par for the tournament. Scott really liked the TPC Scottsdale greens;

“These greens were amazing, if you got it online, rolling, you made it.”