Phoenix Open underway as frost bites

Haas leads again, but favourite Mickelson is close at hand

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Fri, 4 Feb 2011

Play finally got underway at the frozen Phoenix Open and Bill Haas is again atop the leaderboard after the first round.

The American, who started well in Hawaii and at Torrey Pines, shares the early advantage with veteran Tom Lehman, Jason Bohn and Tom Gillis who all shot six-under 65s.

66 players were left in the field and, with more delays are expected at TPC Scottsdale this morning as the freezing temperatures leave their mark again, the second round will almost definitely spill into Saturday.

Chris Couch, Lucas Glover and Ben Crane are a stroke back from the four leaders, with Phil Mickelson a further shot behind.

“I expected the golf course to be frozen and for balls to be bouncing on the greens quite a ways,” said the left-hander, who won here in 1996 and 2005. “But it played terrific. The greens were receptive and I thought the course and set-up was in great shape.”

“I started and finished with a bogey but, in between there, I hit a lot of good shots and played well,” he said. “I didn’t score as low as I probably should have or would have liked, but I didn’t hurt myself at all.

“I’m in good shape after one day. I feel like I’m playing well. We’re going to have some great weather on Saturday and Sunday, and I’m excited to get out on this golf course.”

Lehman, whose last PGA Tour title was this very competition 11 years ago, added: “It was a good day.

“I got off to a mediocre start, just a bunch of pars and then a chip-in on five. I started hitting the ball better and better and better as the day went on. So I’m happy.”

Mickelson seemed to be handling the conditions better than most, playing in a short-sleeved shirt. Last week’s champion Bubba Watson, meanwhile, was wearing skiing gear and mittens.

 

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