He took T24 on his Phoenix debut previous year and I'm not fussed about his missed cut at Torrey Pines as this week's course is more to his liking. Jason Day outlasted Alex Noren in a 6-hole playoff that concluded on Monday after Ryan Palmer was eliminated on the first extra hole. The Japanese star faces a field that includes Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
The Phoenix Open is the best-attended tournament on the tour and is known for its rowdy atmosphere, especially at the par-three "Coliseum" 16th hole, which is surrounded by stands that can house 20,000 fans. It was also really nice to see Tiger Woods make the weekend and finish in the Top 25.
'I eased into the round nicely. turned at three under, did a good job of saving a couple of pars, rolled in a long one (45 feet) on four and good birdie on eight'.
The 47-year-old Mickelson had a 70 in his record-tying 29th start in the tournament he won in 1996, 2005 and 2013. "I could have easily three-putted that if it had run by", he said, "but it went in and saved two shots there, basically". Mickelson is without a tour win in almost four years, but what a venue to end this drought as he seeks to become the first player to win the tournament four times (50/1).
"I think my short game is in good shape right now", Matsuyama said.
This year's Waste Management Phoenix Open finishes Sunday. Matsuyama's playing partner, Ricky Fowler of the United States, whom he beat in a four-hole playoff for his first title in 2016, sits in a five-way tie for second place at 5-under. "Just the boos you got to get adjusted to, that we don't normally hear".
He added birdies on the fourth and eighth holes and signed for a 5-under-par 66 at TPC Scottsdale to move into a share of second place among the early starters.
World number two Jon Rahm is a shot adrift of Fowler at four under, while two-time defending champion Hideki Matsuyama trails Haas by five shots. I get it, late in the day, at a place like Phoenix. "Maybe if you miss you're in the desert and can still play shots instead of going in the water".