February 3, 2017: Matt Kuchar rolled back the years with a spectacular blemishless 64 in the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Kuchar earned a one shot lead over defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and Brendan Steele. Byeong Hun An shot five under 66 to settle into a group of five men at T4.
Last year’s runner-up Rickie Fowler was in a group of nine men, rounding off the top ten at 67.
Matt Kuchar was at his best
Kuchar eagled the par-5 13th and added two late birdies and a big par save on the rowdy par-3 16th hole Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Kuchar
Kuchar shot a 7-under 64 in perfect afternoon conditions at TPC Scottsdale for a one-stroke lead over defending champion Hideki Matsuyama and Brendan Steele. The crowd was estimated at 103,420 on the fan-friendly stadium layout.
Kuchar made a 20-foot eagle putt on the 13th, and ran in a 6-footer for birdie on the par-5 15th. He got up-and-down for par from the left bunker on the triple-deck stadium 16th, making a 12-foot putt, and chipped to inches from the front fringe on the short par-4 17th to set up his final birdie in the bogey-free round.
Hideki Matsuyama on a fine roll
Matsuyama continued his great run of form, firing a spotless 65. The Japanese made two birdies on the front nine and four more on the back nine.
Brendan Steele packed three bogeys and two birdies into an action packed first five holes. But he added five more birdies and an eagle at the par-4 14th hole to regain control with a 65.
Byeong Hun An produced a spotless effort too. He fired an eagle at the 558 yard third hole to fuel his round. Byeong fell quiet for a while before adding birdies at the 13th, 14th and 17th holes.
Rickie Fowler suffered a lone bogey at the fifth hole. Other than that, he shot five birdies in his round to end the day very much within striking distance of the leading men.
With inputs from PGA TOUR