Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm 7:57 AM No. 10 Tee (Thurs.), 12:07 P.M., No 1 Tee (Fri.)
Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin 12:07 P.M. No. 1 Tee (Thurs.), 7:57 A.M. No. 10 Tee (Fri.)
While last week’s marquee group at Torrey Pines was clear cut with Tiger Woods returning to action, this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was a photo finish that was too close to call.
On one hand, we have last week’s winner Jon Rahm with two-time major champion Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
On the other hand, we have the two most recent players to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour in Justin Thomas and Adam Hadwin with Phil Mickelson, a three-time champion of the Waste Management Phoenix Open who saw his 25-foot birdie effort on his final hole, No. 9 at TPC Scottsdale, horseshoe in and out for what would have been a 59 in the first round in 2013.
Spieth is returning to Phoenix after skipping the event last year. The No. 6 player in the world finished in a tie for 7th in 2015 in his only appearance.
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Fresh off his win last week at the Farmers Insurance Open, Rahm will have a huge cheering section having attended nearby Arizona State. He has one appearance at the Phoenix Open, as an amateur in 2015, and finished in a tie for 5th.
Fowler had a two-stroke lead at last year’s Phoenix Open before hitting his tee shot on No. 17 into the water hazard and eventually falling to Hideki Matsuyama in a playoff after hitting another tee shot into the same hazard. He is also coming off a missed cut lat week at Torrey Pines.
Thomas swept the Hawaii Swing, including a first round 59 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He took the past two weeks off and returns to Phoenix, where he missed the cut last year.
Hadwin followed Thomas’ 59 with a sub-60 round of his won the week after at the CareerBuilder Challenge, but wound up in second place behind Hudson Swafford. He contended early last week, but a final round 76 dropped him to a tie for 49th.
Mickelson holds the course record at TPC Scottsdale with his 60 from 2013 and finished in tie for 11th in last year;s tournament. He played well last week at Torrey Pines, with a tie for 14th.