FRIDAY ON THE LINKS | Pro golf results
Rickie Fowler took a share of the lead into the weekend in the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He knows from experience the party is just getting started. “Just keep the gas pedal down,” Fowler said. Fowler has had a lot of success at TPC Scottsdale without winning. He finished a shot behind Hunter Mahan in 2010, lost to Hideki Matsuyama on the fourth extra hole in 2016, and tied for fourth last year. “From the first couple times I played it, I knew it was just kind of a matter of time before I would win here,” Fowler said. “I know I can win here. I put myself in position plenty of times.” Fowler was tied with Bryson DeChambeau, with each shooting his second straight 5-under 66. The festive tournament drew an estimated Friday-record crowd of 191,400 fans, bringing the week total to 439,088. The third-round mark of 204,906 set last year is expected to be shattered Saturday, and the week record of 655,434 from a year ago could fall with a day to spare. DeChambeau birdie the final two holes, hitting a wedge to 8 inches on the par-4 18th late on another 80-degree afternoon. “I missed a few short putts on the back nine, so definitely didn’t play my best,” DeChambeau said. He won the John Deere Classic last year. In 2015, the former SMU star became the fifth player to win the NCAA individual title and U.S. Amateur in the same year. Daniel Berger and former Arizona State player Chez Reavie were a stroke back. Berger had a bogey-free 65. “This is the fourth time I’ve been here, so I’ve kind of figured it out a little bit,” Berger said. “Mostly, it’s just about just enjoying yourself.” Reavie eagled the 17th in a 65. He’s the only player without a bogey after two rounds. “This is my home tournament, growing up here my whole life and coming to the tournament and carrying the sign board,” Reavie said. “So this is like the fifth major for me.” Fowler birdied four of the first six holes. He bogeyed his old nemesis, the 317-yard 17th, after driving short of the green to the left and chipping across and off the green.Fowler is wearing a pin on his hat with a picture of Griffin Connell, the area boy he befriended at the event who died last week at age 7. Connell was born with a rare airway disorder. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence he’s playing so well this week, either,” said Griffin’s father, Jim Connell. “Griffin, he’s not here with us, but we know he’s watching from above.”
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
Lee Westwood sank 11 birdies in scoring a low-round-of-the-day 62 to lie one shot behind the leaders halfway through the Maybank Championship on Friday. Westwood won the Malaysian Open here at Saujana Golf and Country Club 21 years ago, and was also the club’s touring pro. “It’s nice to be in contention and to know this golf course well,” he said. “I’ve played this course more than most and I know where to hit it. Hopefully we can build on that more.” Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand and Nino Bertasio of Italy shared the lead after matching 65s in the second round. Phachara made seven birdies, including five straight in a bogey-free round, and Bertasio holed eight birdies to be 11 under overall at the European Tour event. “It was very easy,” Bertasio said. With Westwood at 10 under were fellow Englishman Chris Paisley (69), Marc Warren of Scotland (66), and Yuta Ikeda of Japan (64). David Lipsky, the runner-up last year, was among a slew of golfers trailing by two, and Europe’s EurAsia Cup-winning captain Thomas Bjorn stayed in contention three strokes adrift.
BARWON HEADS, AUSTRALIA
Australian Minjee Lee shot a 6-under 67 to take a three-stroke lead Friday after two rounds of the Vic Open, the first tournament of the year on the Ladies European Tour. Lee, who had a two-round total of 9-under 137, has played all 36 holes without a bogey — 18 holes Thursday on the Creek Course and 18 Friday on the Beach Course at the 13th Beach Golf Links. Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and Jenny Haglund, who both shot 69, amateur Lin Tze-han of Taiwan (68) and Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord (69) were tied for second. Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger Woods, dropped well off the pace after shooting a second-round 80, bogeying seven of her first nine holes. Woods, who was a stroke out of the lead after the opening round, trails Lee by 11 shots.