A 36th hole birdie has, in all likelihood, secured a weekend tee time for Séamus Power at the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.
The Waterford man had completed just four holes of his opening round before play was halted for darkness on day one after a three-and-a-half hour rain delay, and he returned early Friday facing 32 holes in a marathon day.
With temperatures again extremely low, especially for the Arizona desert, Power struggled to gain any momentum in the early stages of part two of round one, parring his first six of the day and then trading two bogeys with one birdie over the remaining eight to card a level-par opener.
An early birdie in round two was offset by two additional bogeys on the opening nine, and at +1, he was staring a missed cut in the face. A birdie at the par-5 13th got him back to level for the tournament, and he added another at 15 to give himself a fighting chance going into the boisterous closing holes, but missed opportunities at both 16 and 17 left him standing on the 18th tee knowing that, in all likelihood, without a birdie he’d be taking the weekend off.
The closing hole is a treacherous one, with a long carry over water, church-pew bunkers to the left and more bunkers right, and a flag cut on the left edge of the green. But after finding the fairway, he hit a short-iron to 15 feet and rolled home the putt, climbing from T61 to T47 before the second-round afternoon starters got their days underway.
Among them was Shane Lowry, who’d ended say one in a tie for third at -4, but faced a long wait as his re-scheduled second-round tee time would see him go off just ten minutes before sunset in Arizona. He’d complete just a single hole, making par before play was suspended for darkness and he’ll return in the early hours of Saturday to prepare for the concluding 17 holes of his opening 36.
The Friday night lead is co-held by Canadian Nick Taylor and American Andrew Novak. Taylor’s 60 in round one tied Wyndham Clark’s total in the third, and what proved to be final round at last week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am as the lowest score recorded on the PGA Tour in 2024.
Taylor would pick up just one more stroke in his second 18 holes, later being joined by Novak who carded back-to-back 65s for a -12 tally that could gain him his first ever 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
Lurking ominously behind at -8 after a 66 in round two is double defending champion Scottie Scheffler, sitting alongside the trio of Justin Thomas, Cameron Young and Ryan Fox, the latter having completed 15 holes of round two while both Thomas and Scheffler have 36 in the books.
“I was just trying to shoot the best score that I could,” said Scheffler when asked if he’d felt pressurised to capitalise on fairer scoring conditions than the early Thursday starters had faced, “and that’s all I was really trying to do. I was hoping to get off to a good start being on the back nine, which was my front nine, and I wasn’t able to do that, but fortunately I made some birdies coming in.”
Overnight leader on day one, Sahith Theegala, didn’t hit a single shot on day two, but he’s still the most likely to overtake Taylor and Novak at the round’s completion.