Groundhog Day comes every year on February 2nd, but it may have come one day early for 2012 Masters Champion, Bubba Watson on Moving Day at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Phil Mickelson throws passes on 16, but shanks his tee shot, and Kevin Stadler plays his way into second place at TPC Scottsdale with a 67 and will be only two back when action resumes on Super Bowl Sunday.
Bubba Watson made one bogey on Saturday, and only one birdie on the back nine, but will go to the first tee on Sunday with a two-shot lead over Kevin Stadler after carding a -4 under 68. Bubba looks to have his game back on-track and hasn’t had a win on the PGA Tour since his Masters victory two years ago.
The fun started when the big Lefty hit his tee shot at the par 5 13th hole. The ball settled down in a desert bush, and as luck would have it, Watson sought relief because a varmint hole would have been in his swing path. I don’t think it was a Ground Hog hole, but never-the-less, Bubba was awarded a drop out of the bush, and was able to save par.
“Right next to my ball was a burrowing animal hole and my club was going to hit it at impact,” Watson said. “It was big hole and the club would get caught on it. So, I got a free drop and could easily wedge it out.”
It was a big day at TPC Scottsdale with almost 190,000 fans around the golf course. The conditions were cool, cloudy, and windy, but that didn’t stop defending champion, Phil Mickelson from having some fun at the par 3 16th. Phil shanked his tee-shot, dumped his pitch shot into a green-side bunker, and two-putted for a double bogey.
After hitting his tee-shot, Mickelson put on his best Payton Manning impression and may well have worn out his arm prior to making his way to the chip that he dumped in the bunker. Phil needed a low score to get back in this tournament, but just couldn’t make anything happen on Saturday. Although Phil plays as a lefty, he is right-handed, and throws a ball right-handed.
“It was a gap wedge. It was pathetic,” Mickelson said. “I don’t even know what to say. I don’t remember ever hitting a shot like that even in practice.”
Scottsdale resident, and the son of 1982 Masters Champ, Craig Stadler, Kevin Stadler will get the nod on Sunday to play in the final group with Bubba. Stadler has a one-shot lead over a pack of three players that are at -12 under par that includes two-time 2014 winner, Harris English. Also in that group is the Japanese Rookie, Hideki Matsuyama, and Ryan Moore who shot a nice -7 under 64 on Saturday.
“It was packed out there,” said Scottsdale resident Kevin Stadler, second after a 67. “It’s something you only experience once a year.”
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