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Former major champs Bubba, Yang tied at Phoenix Open

First Round – PGA Tour – Waste Management Phoenix Open – TPC Scottsdale – Scottsdale, Arizona–

Former major champions – Bubba Watson and Y.E. Yang – share the overnight lead at the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open after shooting 7-under-64s.

Watson, who has four PGA Tour career wins including the Masters, hit 17 of 18 Greens In Regulation at TPC Scottsdale during a perfect weather day in the Arizona desert. Bubba had just three Top 10s a season ago making 18 of 21 cuts and ending up 44th on the Money List.

For Yang, he hasn’t recorded a Top 10 on the PGA Tour since 2011. Last season, he missed 10 cuts on tour before finishing 164th in the All-Around Ranking and 174th on the Money List.

Yang, 42 years old now, logged a T-28 at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this month, but last won in 2009 when he captured both the Honda Classic and PGA Championship. He also has nine international wins, but none since 2010.

Tied for third place at 6-under is a host of players including long hitters Pat Perez, Harris English and Chris Kirk. English, who has three Top 7s this season, made bogey at two of his last three holes in the opening round.

Ryan Moore, Keegan Bradley and Hideki Matsuyama are all T-10 at 5-under.

On the betting side, Watson was a 25-to-1 pick at Ladbrokes.com to win this championship, while Yang was listed as a 125-1 long shot.

Lee Westwood, making his first appearance at this tournament, is in solid position after round one. He shot 4-under-67 and is tied with Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed at T-18.

Only seven birdies were recorded at the famed 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale Thursday in the opening round. Expect the set-up to change quickly at No. 16 with an easier opportunity for players to create excitement for the crowds and players.

Other Golf News:

  • Rory McIlroy (11-under) leads the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic heading into the weekend after a second-round 70. He leads American Brooks Koepka by a shot. McIlroy, 6th-ranked in the world, is the overall betting favorite at 3-1 odds.
  • Several players struggled Thursday in the opening round in Phoenix including former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover (79), Kyle Stanley (78) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (78).
  • World No. 1 Tiger Woods is T-44 through two rounds in Dubai. He shot 73 Friday. Woods is a two-time champion at the event.
  • Neither Watson nor Yang has won a PGA Tour tournament since capturing their major championship.