Crowded Leaderboard Wraps Up First Round of Waste Management Phoenix Open
Thursday’s first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open brought warm weather, bright sunshine and a slew of excellent scores, making the 2021 event a treat for golf purists and the limited fans in attendance at “The People’s Open.” Two are tied at the lead at 8-under, two are tied just one shot back at 7-under and seven are well within striking distance of first-round leader Matthew NeSmith.
NeSmith jumped out to a hot start and an early lead playing his first nine of the 2021 WM Phoenix Open six-under par – four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 13th – and hit his tee shot on the iconic 16th hole coliseum to six inches before he promptly tapped in for birdie. NeSmith added another birdie on the par-5 3rd, and one more on the par-4 3rd to finish bogey-free 8-under for the day.
Mark Hubbard matched NeSmith at 8-under par thanks to an incredible back-nine in which he carded four straight birdies – and five in six holes – before adding three on the back to join NeSmith at the top of the leaderboard with a bogey-free card.
Nate Lashley added to the no-bogey train with seven birdies of his own to finish one off the lead. And LSU standout turned professional in 2017 Sam Burns had nine, count’em, nine birdies to go along with two bogeys – one on each side – to finish well-within the running for “The People’s Champ” title.
Other notable scores from Thursday’s first round:
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker put together an impressive round, carding seven birdies with only one bogey to hold a 5th-place position after Thursday’s first round at six-under.
Xander Schauffele – currently three off the pace at 5-under par – is right in the thick of things after Thursday’s first round with seven birdies and two unforced blemishes coming as a result of a wayward tee shot on the famed 16th hole and a flubbed chip on No. 6 – an otherwise incredible first-round performance.
Nine players sit four shots behind the leaders at 4-under par including three-time major champion Jordan Spieth who found a glimmer of his past putting prowess and might be eyeing a return to World-No. 1-form.
A common theme for those unfamiliar with the WM Phoenix Open – it’s still anyone’s game after Thursday’s first round. We’ll see limited fans tomorrow for Friday’s second round. If you can’t make it to TPC Scottsdale tomorrow, make sure to tune in to Golf Channel for electrifying second-round coverage of “The People’s Open.”