Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Byeong Hun An takes lead at Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The first few thousand fans rushed to fill the general admission seats on the stadium 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale when the gates opened at 7 a.m. Saturday. Hours and about 30 degrees later, the Phoenix Open had attracted a golf-record crowd of 204,906.

Byeong Hun An led the way inside the ropes in his first appearance at the game's biggest party, shooting 6-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead over Martin Laird at 16-under 197.

"Bogey-free again (Saturday). I think that was pretty big," An said. "I don't care how many shots' lead I have in the final round, I'm just happy with (Saturday's) round. My goal will be bogey-free again and just play smart."

An estimated 596,780 people attended the event the first six days. With 70,000 to 90,000 expected today in perfect warm conditions, the event will shatter the overall attendance record of 618,365 set last year.

"It was crazy," An said. "Last couple holes, that many people around the course is insane. Sixteen, obviously, but 17 and 18, when you walk to the green, it was absolutely packed around the green, left and right of the green, everywhere."

Known as Ben, the 25-year-old South Korean who played in college at California opened with consecutive 66s to share the second-round lead with Brendan Steele. An won the 2009 U.S. Amateur at 17 to become the youngest winner in event history. Winless on the PGA Tour, the European Tour's 2015 PGA Championship is his biggest professional victory.

Laird, a Scot who lives in Scottsdale, made an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th for 65.

Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama had 68 to join John Peterson (63), Graham DeLaet (65) and Michael Kim (66) at 12 under. Steele (70) was in a group of five at 11 under.

Phil Mickelson (65) was six strokes back. "I'm in a good spot," he said. "I'm in a spot where nobody's really looking at me. I'm far enough back, but I am within striking distance."

Player arrested: PGA Tour player Steven Bowditch was arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI early Friday and got out of jail in time to play the Phoenix Open's second round in the afternoon.

Responding to a 911 report about a truck "swerving all over the road," officers in Scottsdale observed the vehicle sitting through two greens lights without moving and found the 33-year-old Australian asleep behind the wheel. Bowditch had a blood-alcohol level over 0.20 percent when he was taken into custody about 1 a.m. local time, police said. In Arizona, a person is considered impaired with a level of 0.08.

Bowditch missed the cut in the tournament. He apologized in a statement and said he would cooperate with authorities.

PGA Europe: Sergio Garcia made a birdie putt from 6 feet in darkness to take a three-shot lead into the final day of the Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates. Garcia finished with a pair of birdies for 4-under 68, which took his three-day total to 16-under 200. Henrik Stenson, in the group ahead of Garcia, shot 67 to move into second at 13 under. The late Saturday finish was prompted by the suspension of play in the second round Friday because of high winds.

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