Phoenix Open: Two-time defending champ Hideki Matsuyama withdraws before Round 2

Daniel Berger can get hot in the desert

Daniel Berger can get hot in the desert

Rickie Fowler birdied the last three holes to take the lead in the PGA Tour's Phoenix Open, overcoming a sluggish start in front of the largest crowd in golf history.

While it's tough to get past the favourites in the U.S., we are content to take a shot at a few longer priced players in the Far East in an attempt to keep our good European Tour run going (a victor and a place in the last two weeks).

It's a par-3, measuring just over 150 yards, with seating all around and, once fans have consumed a few beers, it makes it the rowdiest hole in all of professional golf. You're next task... The ...

"I like playing in the desert, " Haas said.

For the first time in years, his little buddy, Griffin Connell, was not in the gallery cheering Fowler's every move. "I think it's been a big instrument in allowing me to get into the round and play and have fun and get out of the technical side". In each of the last two years, Hideki Matsuyama has won in a playoff after finishing in a tie for second in 2015. Not unlike how the island green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass defines The Players Championship, the 16th at the Waste Management is definitely on the players' minds as they make their way through the back nine. "The swing was just a fraction off".

Fowler, who won the unofficial Hero World Challenge in December, is coming off an uncharacteristic missed cut at Torrey Pines last week, but shrugged it off as a mere blip on the radar.

"He was just pumped and excited to be out there watching us", Fowler said. While Mickelson hasn't notched a win since 2013, he has placed in the top 20 in four of his last six events and now comes to one of his best courses.

"It's just a matter of time", said Fowler, who was stuck in neutral early on Moving Day but rallied late with birdies on each of his final three holes to finish off a 4-under 67.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open may clash with Super Bowl weekend but that doesn't stop the event pulling in incredible crowd numbers.

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