Waste Management Phoenix Open 2016
Round 4 - Hideki Matsuyama wins after Rickie Fowler mistakes
February 8, 2016
Rickie Fowler broke down in tears in the media center after his playoff loss Sunday in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, overcome by emotion talking about his family.
''The hard part is having all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven't seen me win,'' Fowler said. ''But I will be able to kind of hang with them tonight. I'll be all right.''
He hit two balls into the water on the par-4 17th hole - the first in regulation and the second on the fourth and final extra hole - to give Hideki Matsuyama an unexpected victory.
''This one hurts,'' Fowler said.
He blew a two-shot lead on the 317-yard 17th in regulation when he blasted a driver through the green and into the water, with the ball traveling nearly 360 yards.
''I'm hitting a chip-cut driver,'' Fowler said. ''Usually, don't expect it to hit on the downslope and then go 360.''
Using a 3-wood on the hole in the playoff, he pulled his drive into the lake just short of the green.
''Hit it solid,'' Fowler said. ''Just hit it a little high on the face and it just got up and left a little quicker than I was expecting and wanted.''
Matsuyama birdied the hole in regulation to tie for the lead, chipping to 2 1/2 feet. In the playoff, he chipped to 6 feet and two-putted for the win after Fowler missed his 10-foot par putt.
''Surprised and sad that Rickie finished that way, but all I can do is my best,'' Matsuyama said through a translator. ''I was lucky to come out on top.''
Fowler forced the playoff with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th after Matsuyama made an 18-footer. They each shot 4-under 67 to finish at 14-under 270 at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course.
''The putt I made there was probably the best putt I have ever made in my life,'' Matsuyama said.
The playoff was just as dramatic.
On the par-4 10th on the third extra hole, Fowler saved par with a 12-foot putt after driving into the left rough and skulling his approach long and right. Matsuyama made a 5-footer to extend the playoff.
They played the 18th hole twice to open overtime. On the first extra hole, Fowler chipped to a foot to set up a par after leaving his wedge approach short and right. Matsuyama rolled his 25-foot putt inside a foot. On the second playoff hole, Matsuyama matched Fowler's 15-foot birdie putt to extend it.
''Maybe from the outside it looked calm, but then I was nervous inside,'' Matsuyama said.
The crowd of 65,330 pushed the week total to a record 618,365, shattering the mark of 564,368 set last year. The event broke its own golf record Saturday at 201,003 after drawing a Friday-record 160,415.
''It was a blast playing in front of all these people,'' Matsuyama said. ''I'd say probably 99 percent were cheering hard for Rickie, but that gave me the motivation to go out and do it and win.''
Matsuyama won the 2014 Memorial for his only other PGA Tour title, beating Kevin Na on the first extra hole. The 23-year-old Japanese player tied for second last year in Scottsdale, a stroke behind Brooks Koepka.
Fowler missed a chance for his fifth worldwide win in nine months. He started the run in May at The Players Championship, and won the Scottish Open the week before the British Open, the Deutsche Bank Championship in September and the European Tour event two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi.
''With how good I'm playing, I know I can win,'' Fowler said. ''That's the hard part.''
Fowler chipped in from 50 feet for birdie on the par-4 10th to take the lead and added birdies on the par-5 13th and 15th holes to pull two shots ahead. He missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th, the tournament's signature stadium hole, before giving Matsuyama a chance with the long tee shot on 17.
''It didn't look very good,'' Matsuyama said. ''Then Rickie opened the door for me, and I was able to walk through it.''
Harris English shot a 66 to tie for third at 12 under.
Third-round leader Danny Lee had a 73 to drop to fourth at 11 under. The South Korean-born New Zealander began the day three strokes ahead of playing partners Fowler and Matsuyama.
Phil Mickelson followed his third-round 65 with a 71 to tie for 11th at 8 under. The 45-year-old former Arizona State won the event in 1996, 2005 and 2013.
Round 3 - Danny Lee leads in front of record crowd
February 7, 2016
Danny Lee knew there was a huge crowd Saturday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He still was amazed when told just how many people packed TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course.
''Two-hundred thousand?'' Lee asked, making sure he heard right.
Actually, an estimated 201,003 - the largest crowd in golf history.
''Wow! This is crazy,'' Lee said.
Lee had some pretty good numbers of his own on a sunny, warm afternoon at golf's biggest party, shooting a 4-under 67 to move three strokes ahead of friend Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama with one round left.
''Taking slow breath out there really helps,'' Lee said about the wild atmosphere.
The previous largest crowd at the Stadium Course was 189,722 in 2014. The event also set a day record Friday at 160,415, and has drawn 553,035 for the first six days - close to the weekly mark of 564,368 set last year.
''I'm just trying to enjoy myself and I am,'' Lee said. ''It's so much fun out there, so many people just cheering for Rickie instead of me, unfortunately. But I'm having fun.''
Lee had six birdies and two bogeys to reach 13-under 200. The 25-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander won the Greenbrier Classic last year for his first PGA Tour title.
''Winning at the Greenbrier Classic gave me a lot of confidence,'' Lee said. ''It kind of taught me how to be on the top and what I need to work on and what it takes to win a golf tournament.''
He's making his fourth appearance in the event after missing the cuts the last three years.
''I always struggled with my tee-shot game out here,'' Lee said. ''This week, I have been driving it really nicely.''
Fowler parred the final five holes for a 70. Matsuyama had a 68.
''I just didn't get much out of the round,'' said Fowler, at No. 4 the top-ranked player in the field. ''Just kind of managed it well and played with what I had to get around.''
Second-round leader James Hahn had a 74 to fall into a tie for seventh at 7 under. Tied with Lee for the lead at 12 under after the 11th hole, he dropped five strokes on the next three holes.
Hahn bogeyed the par-3 12th and made double bogeys on par-5 13th and par-4 14th. He drove left into the desert on 13, then hit his tee shot out-of-bounds to the right on the long, uphill 14th after a fan distracted him at the top of his swing.
Lee birdied Nos. 2-4, making a 21-footer on the par-4 fourth, and holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-4 eighth.
After a three-putt bogey on the par-4 11th left him tied with Hahn, Lee got up-and-down for par from the greenside bunker on 12 to pull ahead. Hahn and Fowler bogeyed the hole from the same bunker.
Lee birdied 13, but gave back the stroke with a bogey on the par-5 15th after driving left into the water. The 2008 U.S. Amateur champion got back to 13 under with a 9-foot birdie putt on the short par-4 17th.
Fowler got a break on the 15th when his hybrid from the right rough ballooned short and right and stopped a foot short of the water.
''It came out soft and floated on me,'' Fowler said. ''Got a little lucky there.''
He won two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi for his fourth worldwide victory in nine months.
Matsuyama chipped in for birdie on the par-4 14th and two-putted for birdie on 15. The 23-year-old Japanese player tied for second last year, a stroke behind Brooks Koepka.
''I didn't putt very well today,'' Matsuyama said through a translator. ''I didn't drive the ball very well, but I did get it around. I'm happy with that.''
Bryce Molder and Boo Weekley were 9 under. Molder closed with an 18-foot putt on the par-4 ninth for a 64, the best round of the week. Weekley birdied three of the last four holes for a 65.
Phil Mickelson was 8 under after 65. The 45-year-old former Arizona State player made an unlikely birdie on 15 when his hybrid from 255 yards went so far right that it crossed the lake and ended up in the 11th fairway. He hit a wedge to 15 feet and made the putt.
''It was the worst shot of the year and I ended up making a birdie,'' said Mickelson, the tournament winner in 1996, 2005 and 2013.
Bubba Watson had his first over-par round ever at TPC Scottsdale, shooting a 73 to drop to 2 under. He shot par or better in his first 36 rounds in the tournament.
Round 2 - James Hahn takes lead with a 65
February 6, 2016
James Hahn has settled down a lot since his wild days - and nights - at the University of California led to the end of his college career. He still knows how to have a good time.
That was on display again Friday at the golf party known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where Hahn took the lead with a bogey-free 6-under 65 in breezy conditions.
''I'm having fun out there,'' Hahn said.
He wasn't alone at TPC Scottsdale.
An estimated 160,415 fans, not counting a large bobcat that sauntered between the first and second holes in the afternoon, packed the grounds. The crowd broke the Friday record of 123,674 set in 2014 and was the 10th-largest figure for any day in tournament history.
Hawn became an internet sensation in 2013 when he celebrated a birdie on the rowdy par-3 16th with a ''Gangnam Style'' dance.
''It's the one week out of the year where you're allowed to do anything you want and not get fined,'' Hahn said. ''It's good for golf, good for the game, good for the fans that come out here. They support the golf tournament, so might as well give them a show.''
On Friday, he did 10 pushups after teeing off on the stadium 16th.
''They came out to watch the gun show, so I popped them out right there on the tee box,'' Hahn said.
Hahn had a 10-under 132 total on the Stadium Course to enter the weekend a stroke ahead of Rickie Fowler and Danny Lee. Fowler birdied his final hole for a 68, and Lee had a 66.
Hahn opened with a chip-in birdie on the par-4 10th and birdied the two back-nine par 5s, making a 30-footer on the 13th and hitting a wedge to 7 feet on the 15th. On his final nine, he hit a wedge to 3 feet to set up a birdie on the par-4 second, chipped to 3 feet for another birdie on the par-5 third, and took the outright lead with a 10-footer on the par-4 sixth.
''Sleeping in my own bed this week, live about 10 minutes away,'' Hahn said. ''I have played this course a hundred times. The only thing different about the course today, as any other day, is the greens are better.''
Fowler rebounded from a three-putt bogey on the par-4 17th with the birdie on the par-4 18th. A day after driving into the left-side water, he hammered a fairway wood down the middle and - with music thumping in the background - hit his approach to 4 feet.
''It wasn't playing easy,'' Fowler said. ''The wind was kind of blowing from an awkward position. ... Just tried to stay patient, fight through it.''
The top-ranked player in the field at No. 4, Fowler has four worldwide victories in the last nine months. He missed the cut last week at Torrey Pines after winning in Abu Dhabi the previous week.
Lee birdied five of his first eight holes, highlighted by a 20-footer on 16. The South Korean-born New Zealander won the Greenbrier Classic last year for his first tour title.
''Wind was definitely in play today,'' Lee said. ''The greens being so firm, you're kind of forced to hit driver. You want to hit a shorter club on the second shot.''
Harris English (67), Shane Lowry (70) and Hideki Matsuyama (70) were 7 under.
Keegan Bradley, penalized two strokes Thursday for having too many clubs in his bag, was 5 under after a 69. Bradley and caddie Steve Hale didn't notice the extra club until after the first hole in the first round.
Bubba Watson shot his second straight 69. Two days after criticizing the renovated course and saying he was only playing the tournament out of loyalty to his sponsors, he apologized.
''I didn't explain myself well,'' Watson said. ''My wife says that, too, when I go home. I don't communicate very well.''
The two-time Masters champion tied for second the last two years and has shot par or better in all 36 of his rounds in the event, playing to a cumulative 97 under.
Phil Mickelson was 2 under after a 71. The 45-year-old former Arizona State player bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15, hitting a hybrid approach into the water on 15.
''That kind of let the round get away,'' said Mickelson, the tournament winner in 1996, 2005 and 2013. ''I'm looking forward to having another shot at this golf course tomorrow.''
Round 1 - Trio top first round leaderboard
February 5, 2016
Rickie Fowler overcame some bad shots for a share of the lead Thursday in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Phil Mickelson compounded his mistakes and fell back.
After an hour-long frost delay at chilly TPC Scottsdale, Fowler played the first six holes in 5 under. A group behind, Mickelson took the lead at 5 under with a birdie on his eighth hole.
While Fowler finished with a 6-under 65 to tie Shane Lowry and Hideki Matsuyama for the lead in the suspended first round, Mickelson had a 69 after dropping four strokes in a two-hole stretch.
''I made some good putts to start,'' Fowler said. ''Just kind of got everything going. Made a couple of bad swings. Cost me a little bit, but other than that, nice way to get off to a good start.''
Mickelson bogeyed the par-3 fourth after hitting short and right and failing to reach the green with his second, and unraveled with a triple bogey on the par-4 fifth. He drove out of bounds to the right, hit his second tee shot into the right bunker and three-putted from 50 feet.
''I hit a bad shot at the wrong time,'' Mickelson said. ''It's the tightest hole out there. You miss the fairway 5 yards left, you're in the wash, in the hazard. You miss it right of the bunker, you're out of bounds. ... I'm not going to dwell on the one bad one because there were really a lot of good ones.''
The best one was on the par-5 13th - his fourth hole of the day - when he hit a 252-yard hybrid approach to 2 1/2 feet to set up an eagle.
Winless in 48 events since the 2013 British Open, the 45-year-old former Arizona State player is working with swing coach Andrew Getson after splitting with Butch Harmon. Lefty tied for third two weeks ago at La Quinta in his season debut and missed the cut last week at Torrey Pines.
''When you don't score as low as you feel like you're playing, it can be frustrating, but for me, I find it to be more encouraging that I'm making a lot of birdies,'' said Mickelson, the tournament winner in 1996, 2005 and 2013.
Fowler also missed the cut at Torrey Pines after winning the European Tour event in Abu Dhabi the previous week. He has four worldwide victories in the last nine months.
''I know I have been swinging well and playing well,'' Fowler said. ''I just didn't make anything last week.''
Fowler opened with a birdie on the par-4 10th as the temperature crawled into the 40s, holing a 16-foot putt. He made a 35-footer on the 12th, two-putted for birdie on the 13th and made a 28-foot eagle putt on the par-5 15th after hitting a 258-yard shot over the water.
''I had a good number in there,'' Fowler said. ''Actually, put a 5-wood in play last week, a new one.''
The top-ranked player in the field at No. 4, Fowler bogeyed the par-3 16th after drawing an awkward lie in the right bunker. He birdied the short par-4 17th, and bogeyed the par-4 18th after driving left into the water. On his back nine, he got up-and-down for birdie from a greenside bunker on the par-5 third and closed with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 ninth.
Lowry birdied seven of his first 13 holes, then bogeyed the next two.
''I got to 7 under and just became a little bit tense there,'' the Irishman said. ''That's something that I need to work on. ... It's a bad mistake if you don't learn from it.''
Matsuyama was in one of the last groups to finish before play was stopped because of darkness.
India's Anirban Lahiri was a stroke back at 66, and Bryce Molder also was 5 under with two holes left. He was one of 33 players who failed to finish.
Bubba Watson opened with a 69, finishing in fading light a day after saying he doesn't like the renovated course and is only playing the tournament out of loyalty to his sponsors. The two-time Masters champion tied for second the last two seasons.