Rickie Fowler birdied his final three holes Saturday to shoot 4-under 67 and take a one-shot lead over Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau and Chez Reavie heading into Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Here’s where things stand through 54 holes at TPC Scottsdale, where 12 players are within three shots of the lead.
Leaderboard: Fowler (-14), Rahm (-13), Reavie (-13), DeChambeau (-13), Mickelson (-12), Schauffele (-12), Berger (-12)
What it means: It will be a star-studded Super Bowl Sunday. There’s Fowler, the fan favorite who has come so close before in Phoenix and is looking to spark a major campaign in 2018. There’s Rahm, the No. 2 player in the world eyeing his fifth worldwide in the last year and his second in the last three weeks. There’s DeChambeau, the former U.S. Amateur and NCAA individual champion seeking his second Tour victory. There’s Schauffele and Berger, two of the last three PGA Tour rookies of the year. Not as well-known, there’s Reavie, a 36-year-old journeyman who last won the Web.com Tour in 2015, the year he finished atop that circuit’s postseason money list. And then of course, there’s Mickelson, the 47-year-old, three-time Phoenix Open champion fighting for his 43rd PGA Tour title and his first win of any kind since the 2013 Open Championship.
Round of the day: Tour rookie Beau Hossler Tour and veteran Matt Kuchar both signed for 7-under 64. At 11 under par, is eyeing the best finish of his young career following a tie for seventh during the fall in Las Vegas. Kuchar (-10) is making his 2018 debut.
Best of the rest: The last two winners on Tour, Rahm and Alex Noren turned in 65s Saturday. Rahm dropped just one shot, at the par-4 10th, and birdied five of his final eight holes playing alongside Mickelson and Schauffele for the third straight day.
Biggest disappointment: Justin Thomas made eight birdies, three bogeys, a double and a triple Saturday en route some kind of even-par 71. Per Golf Channel research, Thomas’ was 197th Tour round at TPC Scottsdale to feature eight birdies but the first not to finish under par. This, after he opened with six straight birdies and appeared in need of an early 59-watch. He’ll start Sunday eight back at 6 under.
Shot of the day: Fowler pouring in this nine-foot birdie putt on 18 to take the lead by himself:
Clutch.@RickieFowler birdies three-in-a-row to take the 54-hole lead @WMPhoenixOpen! #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/dp5oxDje56
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 3, 2018
Quote of the day: “Shocked. I’m speechless. That pretty much sums it up.” – Thomas on his round