On a day of rowdiness and tributes at the 2020 Phoenix Open, we have a first-round leader in Wyndham Clark, who shot a wild 10 under in Round 1. He’s trailed by J.B. Holmes, Ben An, Sungjae Im, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas, which means we have ourselves a golf tournament out in the desert.
Let’s take a place at everything that happened in Round 1 as the first month of golf’s calendar year comes to a close.
First place — Wyndham Clark (-10): The former Oklahoma State golfer was pretty much flawless in Round 1. He was one of the last to finish up on the day after starting his round on hole No. 10, but he was the best in the field by two. That was a magic number for Clark, who was second in the field from tee to green and second in putting as well. A bogey-free 61 that flirted late with a 59 is a good way to start Super Bowl week in the desert.
Other contenders — Billy Horschel (-8), J.B. Holmes (-7), Ben An (-6), Sungjae Im (-5), Xander Schauffele (-4), Jon Rahm (-4), Hideki Matsuyama (-4), Justin Thomas (-3): Here’s where the big names who played well landed. Of this group, Schauffele, An and Holmes were all tremendous from tee to green, and Horschel gained over five strokes on the field with a hot putter. Only one of those is sustainable, and it’s not Horschel’s flat stick. Still, these are the guys Clark will have an eye on as he looks back at the field and onto the weekend.
Scorecard of the day: Holmes’ was completely insane. It doesn’t get crazier than a 34 on the front nine with a double-bogey and an ace.
Kobe (and Pat Tillman) tributes:when he wore Kobe’s Lower Merion high school jersey (No. 33), but Tony Finau had a great one, too.
And Jon Rahm paid tribute to fellow Arizona State Sun Devil, Pat Tillman, with these kicks.
“I always try to do something for the home crowd, always,” Rahm said. “As an ASU Sun Devil … you got to learn and you basically get imprinted what Pat Tillman meant. He was a great example and role model as a student-athlete and then having his life figured out, basically being an NFL player decided to go to war, joined the Army and defend the country.
“And it’s just trying to raise awareness that while we are here, most of the people here are partying, drinking, enjoying the nice sunny Scottsdale weather, there’s people out there, not only military but there’s a lot of people out there just defending and fighting for us to have a secure and safe life and to be able to enjoy things like this. So never to forget things like that.”
What to watch on Day 2: It’s still Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas’ tournament to lose. They came in as the favorites, and they remain among the top-five favorites after 18 holes. I’d like to see (and think we could see) one of them go out in 64 or something like that on Friday to really take hold of the event.