Published: Mon, February 05, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Gary Woodland beats Chez Reavie in Phoenix Open playoff

Gary Woodland beats Chez Reavie in Phoenix Open playoff

Rickie Fowler took a step towards Phoenix Open redemption when he earned a share of the halfway lead with fellow American Bryson DeChambeau in Arizona on Friday.

DeChambeau, a physics major who applies his understanding of the science to his swing, rifled his approach shot to inside a foot to birdie the last and join Fowler at the top of the leaderboard.

Rahm ended his round well with four birdies in his last six holes, while Reavie had a birdie-birdie finish. He was tied with reigning Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele (66) and Daniel Berger (68).

World number seven Fowler, whose history of strong showings in Phoenix include a runner-up finish in 2010 and a playoff loss to Hideki Matsuyama in 2016, was rewarded for his patience with a sizzling finish to the day.

"It was a grind", Fowler said. "We took advantage of the last few holes, but that is the biggest scoring opportunity on the golf course".

"Every hole, all these fans and I'm guessing tomorrow afternoon there's going to be a lot more people especially in my group playing with Phil again".

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The Offaly man made a good start on Saturday, with birdies on the second and third, but then things soon unraveled as he dropped four shots in as many holes - with a bogey on the fifth, a double-bogey on the sixth and another bogey on the eighth. He tied for 12th last week at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

"I turned a round that could have been 74 or 75 into - I think I shot 71 that day", Fowler said.

The 47-year-old is seeking his 43rd PGA Tour title, and his first title since the 2013 British Open. 2 and 4 and parred the final five.

Justin Thomas, the 2017 PGA Tour Player of the Year, got off to a dream start with six birdies to open his round.

Rahm, starting on the back nine, didn't really reach his stride until the front nine when he eagled the par-5 third hole and then birdied holes 5 and 9.

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