2014 Phoenix Open: Bubba Watson jumps to top of leaderboard, Phil Mickelson stalls

Robert Laberge

Some big names dot the leaderboard after the opening round in Phoenix, where two former major winners share the early lead at TPC Scottsdale.

The first round of the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open is (almost) in the books, and the folks at TPC Scottsdale have to be happy with some of the names populating the first page of the leaderboard. Bubba Watson, who was out late in the afternoon, closed strong with four birdies in his last six holes to take a share of the lead at 7-under. Watson had a chance to take the outright lead on the 18th green, but his birdie putt did not have enough juice on it. He'll sleep on the 18-hole lead with Y.E. Yang, whose last PGA Tour win was also a major.

Since he won the 2012 Masters, Watson has put it in cruise control a bit, rightly spending more time with his family and adopted son, but also checking out of some big events with inconsistent form. He's a temperamental force, and an early win in the 2014 season at a place he loves could reset things a bit for the ultra talented lefty. The highlight of Watson's round was undoubtedly at the famous par-3 16th, where he dropped his tee shot right on top of the pin on a hole that was actually playing much tougher than normal. Watson, of course, played to the stadium-style crowd at the season's most rowdy hole (via PGATour):

And here's a snapshot of the kind of 16th hole denizen and scene you get there late in the day, as Watson converted the birdie putt:

In addition to Watson, fellow American stars Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Harris English are also inside the top 10.

Phil Mickelson, who announced Wednesday night that he would give it a go and "take it easy" playing with a balky back, finished the day seven shots off the pace at even-par. Mickelson was out early in the morning, in cooler temperatures and with less time to loosen up the back. He was a little frustrated with the outcome and blamed a bit of "rustiness" on some of the missed opportunities. The Hall of Famer didn't seem concerned, however, and just said he needed to go out and get a "hot round" going on Friday. As we saw last year when he nearly shot 59, Mickelson, bad back and all, is certainly capable of posting in the mid-60s on this second home course in front of the welcoming crowd.

Here's the first round leaderboard, with 10 players still out on the course because darkness fell Thursday before completion of the first round:

Place Player Score
T1 Y.E. Yang -7
T1 Bubba Watson -7
T3 Pat Perez -6
T3 Kevin Stadler -6
T3 William McGirt -6
T3 Greg Chalmers -6
T3 Matt Jones -6
T3 Harris English -6
T3 Chris Kirk -6
T10 Hunter Mahan -5
T10 Ryan Moore -5
T10 Tommy Gainey -5
T10 Jason Kokrak -5
T10 Brendon de Jonge -5
T10 Brendan Steele -5
T10 Hideki Matsuyama -5
T18 Bryce Molder -4
T18 James Driscoll -4
T18 Sang-Moon Bae -4
T18 Martin Laird -4
T18 Erik Compton -4
T18 Spencer Levin -4
T18 Michael Putnam -4
T18 John Mallinger -4
T18 Graham DeLaet -4
T18 Lee Westwood -4
T18 Patrick Reed -4
T18 Gary Woodland -4
T18 Scott Piercy -4
T18 Kiradech Aphibarnrat -4
T32 Russell Henley -3
T32 Webb Simpson -3
T32 Jonathan Byrd -3
T32 John Peterson -3
T32 Aaron Baddeley -3
T32 David Hearn -3
T32 Jonas Blixt -3
T32 Ben Curtis -3
T40 Nicolas Colsaerts -2
T40 Morgan Hoffmann -2
T40 Martin Kaymer -2
T40 Ian Poulter -2
T40 Bill Haas -2
T40 Ben Crane -2
T40 Fred Funk -2
T40 Nick Watney -2
T40 Brian Gay -2
T40 Vijay Singh -2
T40 Justin Hicks -2
T51 Robert Garrigus -1
T51 Charles Howell III -1
T51 Scott Stallings -1
T51 D.A. Points -1
T51 Daniel Summerhays -1
T51 Chris Stroud -1
T51 Jason Bohn -1
T51 Brandt Snedeker -1
T51 John Huh -1
T51 Kevin Na -1
T51 Scott Verplank -1
T51 Ken Duke -1
T51 Mark Calcavecchia -1
T51 Chris Smith -1
T65 Ricky Barnes E
T65 Nicholas Thompson E
T65 Ryo Ishikawa E
T65 Scott Langley E
T65 Rickie Fowler E
T65 Billy Horschel E
T65 Jhonattan Vegas E
T65 Phil Mickelson E
T65 Steven Bowditch E
T65 Joe Ogilvie E
T65 Richard H. Lee E
T65 Luke Guthrie E
T65 Kris Blanks E
T65 Cameron Tringale E
T65 Kevin Streelman E
T65 Geoff Ogilvy E
T65 K.J. Choi E
T65 Charlie Wi E
T65 Camilo Villegas E
T65 Charley Hoffman E
T85 Kevin Chappell 1
T85 David Lingmerth 1
T85 Marc Leishman 1
T85 Angel Cabrera 1
T85 George McNeill 1
T85 Carl Pettersson 1
T85 Michael Thompson 1
T85 Paul Goydos 1
T85 Martin Flores 1
T85 Matt Every 1
T85 John Rollins 1
T85 Roberto Castro 1
T85 Retief Goosen 1
T85 Justin Leonard 1
T85 Rory Sabbatini 1
T85 Derek Ernst 1
T85 Brian Davis 1
T85 David Lynn 1
T103 Andres Romero 2
T103 J.B. Holmes 2
T103 D.H. Lee 2
T103 Woody Austin 2
T103 Josh Teater 2
T103 Padraig Harrington 2
T103 Charlie Beljan 2
T103 Ted Potter, Jr. 2
T103 Jeff Overton 2
T103 Brian Stuard 2
T103 James Hahn 2
T103 Ki Taek Lee (a) 2
T115 Mark Wilson 3
T115 David Toms 3
T115 Brian Harman 3
T115 Danny Lee 3
T115 Kevin Tway 3
T120 J.J. Henry 4
T120 Mike Weir 4
T120 Jeff Maggert 4
T120 John Merrick 4
T124 Joey Snyder III 5
T124 Stephen Ames 5
T124 Ryan Palmer 5
T124 Bo Van Pelt 5
T124 Robert Allenby 5
129 Paul Trittler 6
T130 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 7
T130 Kyle Stanley 7
132 Lucas Glover 8

More from SB Nation Golf:

Rory McIlroy's favored over Tiger Woods in Dubai

Tiger works out too much and is too big, says ex-coach Hank Haney

Tiger puts Torrey flop behind him

Phil Mickelson hopes back allows him to play in Phoenix

Is Tiger's tank job reason to panic? | Reviewing the Torrey implosion

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