Waste Management Phoenix Open 2013: Biggest Takeaways from Opening Round

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - JANUARY 31: Phil Mickelson reacts after missing his birdie putt on the ninth hole that would have given him a round of 59 during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on January 31, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open provided fans with plenty of excitement.

With one of the deepest fields in any early PGA event, the Arizona tournament gives players a great chance to get off to a good start in 2013.

Although three rounds are still left to be played, the opening day helped reveal what to expect for the rest of the week. 


Phil Mickelson Still Has It

Phil Mickelson is one of the best golfers of his generation, but he has struggled lately. He ended 2012 with poor performances in the last three majors and only won a single tournament all year.

He has dropped to No. 22 in the world rankings after spending many years near the top.

However, he put together his best performance in years with an opening round 60 at TPC Scottsdale. He had 11 birdies with no bogeys and came millimeters away from holing his final putt to shoot a 59.

Lefty has gotten off to a solid start and has built himself a nice lead after the first day. If he can play half as well for the rest of the tournament, he will take home a pretty good paycheck as the Phoenix Open champion.


Brandt Snedeker Is One of the Hottest Players on Tour

At the end of 2012, Brandt Snedeker began playing red-hot golf and ended up winning the Tour Championship along with the entire FedEx Cup.

That stellar play has continued into 2013.

Already this month, Snedeker has a third-place finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and a second-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open

He is looking for yet another top-three finish this week, as he shot an impressive 64 in the first round.

Things got a little shaky with back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16, but he made up for it with an eagle on the 17th hole. Overall, Snedeker continued to show his ability to get onto the green in regulation with consistency.

Of all of the players near the top of the leaderboard, Snedeker is the most likely to stay up there based on his recent play.


It Will Take a Very Low Score to Win

As impressive as Mickelson's performance was, it is important to look at it in context. In the first round, four different players shot seven-under and six people ended up at six-under par.

Very few competitors in the entire tournament finished over par.

There are a lot of experienced golfers in this field, and many of them are capable of putting together a great performance at any time. 

Last year, Kyle Stanley won with a total score of 269. That might not be able to win the tournament this time around.