Rickie Fowler closed with four straight birdies for a 6-under-par 65 on Friday, taking a one-shot lead over Justin Thomas at the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Fowler’s birdie run started at the par-5 15th and ended with his 8-foot putt on the par-4 18th, putting him at 13-under 129 through two rounds.
Thomas, his roommate for the week, was bogey-free until he pulled his approach on the long par-4 14th and couldn’t get up-and-down. He responded with a two-putt birdie on 15 and closed with three straight pars.
“Getting to play with your buddies, those are the people you want to lose to the least,” said Fowler. “So having bragging rights right now — we have a long way to go, there’s a lot of golf to be played — that will be fun. I definitely don’t want him out in front of me.”
Fowler hit his approach shot on 18 just behind the hole and sank the 8-footer, sending a roar across TPC Scottsdale.
“I really did a good job of taking care of the holes coming in,” he said. “Just did a good job of staying disciplined, making good shots, good swings and made some good putts as well.”
Branden Grace aced the 193-yard seventh hole and was tied with Trey Mullinax at 11-under. Each shot 64.
Playing in his 30th Phoenix Open, Phil Mickelson shot 75 and finished 1-over to miss the cut.
European Tour: Dustin Johnson shot a course-record 9-under 61 and took a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the Saudi International.
The third-ranked Johnson is 11-under after making seven birdies and an eagle at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City.
Starting on the back nine, Johnson opened with consecutive birdies and added two more to make the turn in 31. There was another birdie on No. 2, and a 30-foot eagle putt at the fourth. Consecutive birdies from the sixth hole followed before he finished with a pair of pars.
“You always have fun when you’re playing well,” Johnson said. “I did a lot of the same things I did yesterday. It was a very good round.”
Johnson fared much better than the other members of the world’s top three. Top-ranked Justin Rose missed the cut at 2-over after a 72, while No. 2 Brooks Koepka was tied for 47th at 1-under after a 70.
The new European Tour event is being held amid scrutiny of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and condemnation after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/golf/article/Rickie-Fowler-closes-with-4-straight-birdies-to-13582800.php.