By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On any other day, Brandt Snedeker would have been absolutely thrilled with the 64 he shot in the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The round of 7 under was his low to date this season, one in which Snedeker has already finished in the top three twice in three starts, including a tie for second last week at the Farmers Insurance Open. When Phil Mickelson is playing one group ahead and threatening a 59, though, it understandably paled a tad in comparison.
"Obviously needed to go a little lower," Snedeker said good-naturedly. "I'm only 4 behind after that. It was fun out there. We had a great group of guys, me and Padraig (Harrington) and Hunter (Mahan) had a great time out there today and kind of fed off each other, got off to a hot start and played pretty well.
"A couple loose shots here and there, but all in all, take that start for sure."
Harrington, who is playing in his first Waste Management Phoenix Open, matched Snedeker's 64 while Mahan, the 2010 champion at TPC Scottsdale, had a 67. Snedeker, who made seven birdies, one eagle and two bogeys on Thursday, said all three were well aware of each putt Mickelson made -- and they were hoping to hear the roars at No. 9, which was Mickelson final try at 59.
"It gave us a target to go after," the reigning FedExCup champ said. "We're all fans of golf, we're all fans of Phil, so we wanted to see him make that putt on the last hole. We were listening for the roar on 8 green and didn't hear it go in, which was a shame. I heard he put a good roll on it, it just didn't go in. ...
"Phil has been out here for a long time, and for him to shoot a score like that and have a chance at 59 had to be a lot of fun for him. We know he was trying to shoot 58, not 59, so I'm sure he's a little disappointed. He played great."