Strong finish lifts Fowler to Phoenix Open lead

Saul Bowman
February 5, 2018

One of the most popular, raucous and action-packed tournaments on the PGA Tour takes place this week in the form of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Scotsman Martin Laird birdied three of his last four holes to sign for a 68 and sit four shots off the lead. I also like the way Tony Finau and Austin Cook are playing this season.

Feeling the energy Mickelson, who also played college golf in Arizona and is a three-time Phoenix Open victor, is another fan favorite at the always raucous tournament.

After Saturday's record-setting day, the attendance for the week has risen to 654,906 and is only 528 fans away from tying last year's record-setting week of 655,434.

"He was just a huge fan of the game", Fowler said.

He got back on track with bridies at 13 and 15, before a bogey at 17, where a "funky little chip" led to a disappointing dropped shot. Connell, born with a rare airway disorder, passed away January 23 in Phoenix.

The laid-back Victorian entered last year's final round at TPC Scottsdale sharing seventh place and while five behind the leader was still a legitimate chance to contend.


Fowler wore a pin on his hat with a picture of Griffin Connell, the area boy who died January 23 at age 7.

Haas, who teed off at the 10th hole, surged to five-under after seven holes, helped in no small part by an eagle at the par-five 15th, where he sank a 20-footer.

"It was a grind", Fowler told Amanda Balionis of CBS Sports.

The victor two weeks ago in La Quinta, Rahm eagled the par-5 third on his second nine.

Arnold Palmer bested four players, including Jack Nicklaus, by 12 strokes in 1962, his second of three consecutive Phoenix Open wins.

The Phoenix Open Pro is a professional golf tournament held every year in Scottsdale, Ariz., between January and February. With the long odds, I like Mickelson as a dark horse option.

Toss in the characters we have involved - we haven't even really discussed Mickelson and his opportunity on Sunday - and the sporting event of the day might go down in Scottsdale rather than in Minneapolis.

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