Harold Varner III snaked in a long birdie putt at TPC Scottsdale’s rowdy 16th hole, highlighting a 7-under 64 to tie Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas for the first-round lead in the Phoenix Open on Thursday.
Fowler and Thomas, roommates for the week, played bogey-free rounds in the morning under pristine weather conditions.
Varner overcame a bogey on No. 2 with three straight birdies and set off the loudest roars of the day at No. 16 in the afternoon, celebrating with a dab after his 31-foot putt dropped. He missed an opportunity for the outright lead on the drivable No. 17, three-putting from 105 feet.
Martin Laird and J.T. Poston shot 65, and four players were at 66.
Defending champion Gary Woodland shot 68. Phil Mickelson also opened with a 68.