Four tied atop WM Phoenix Open leaderboard
Thursday, February 3, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Bubba Watson started play with a ski cap and kept his hands warm between shots with mittens. Ben Crane wore two hats and three pair of pants. And Phil Mickelson played his final nine hole in short sleeves.
Short sleeves? In 45-degree conditions Thursday in the Phoenix Open?
“I don’t know how he was doing it because I didn’t think it was that warm out,” said playing partner Bill Haas, tied for the lead in the suspended first round at 6-under 65. “Better than it was in the morning, but it’s still pretty cold.”
Lefty thought nothing of it.
Photos: Waste Management Phoenix Open
Photos from the frosty Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“I started to get a little bit warm,” Mickelson said. “It felt great.”
The start of play was delayed four hours because of heavy frost at TPC Scottsdale and only the scheduled morning starters completed the round.
The temperature dipped into the mid 20s overnight and it was 39 when play started at 11:40 a.m. The high was 47 on a cloudless day in the desert.
“It’s cold. You’ve got four layers on,” said Haas, tied with Jason Bohn, Tom Gillis and Champions Tour player Tom Lehman.
Another long frost delay was expected Friday, likely forcing most of the second round to Saturday and possibly setting up a 36-hole finish Sunday.
Lucas Glover, sporting a thick beard that prompted calls of “Grizzly” and “Brian Wilson” from fans, was a stroke back along with Chris Couch and Ben Crane.
“It was cold, and it’s getting colder,” Glover said.
Mickelson, coming off a one-stroke loss to Watson last week at Torrey Pines in San Diego, topped the group at 67. Watson shot a 70.
“I expected the golf course to be frozen and balls to be bouncing on the greens quite a ways.” Mickelson said. “It played terrific. The greens were receptive.”
Gillis said it seemed colder than it was over Christmas in Michigan when he played hockey on a lake in 15-degree conditions.
“I was wearing the same stuff and it felt a little colder today,” Gillis said. “Probably because we weren’t moving as much as we were when we were playing hockey. ... But it just seemed colder than 15 degrees up there, that’s all I know.”
Lehman won the tournament in 2000 for the last of his five PGA Tour titles. The 51-year-old Minnesotan won the Senior PGA Championship last year and opened the season two weeks ago with a second-place finish in the Champions Tour event at Hualalai.
“It was chilly, but once you get playing, you kind of forget about it,” Lehman said. “Somebody mentioned about playing in Minnesota where I grew up. There were some days there where it was so brutally cold that I can tell you, one time in high school, a kid broke his hand, but didn’t know it until the ride home because his hands were numb all day. That’s cold. Today wasn’t there.”
Fellow Champions Tour player Mark Calcavecchia, a three-time winner at TPC Scottsdale, had a 77. Colombian star Camilo Villegas also struggled in the cold, shooting a 78 – the worst round of the day.
Defending champion Hunter Mahan was even par after five holes.
Geoff Ogilvy was 1 under through six holes in his first start since gouging his right index finger on a coral reef in Hawaii before the Tournament of Champions. He needed 12 stitches to repair the cut to the side of his knuckle.
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