Matt Kuchar shines in first round at the Phoenix Open

Bubba Watson is fancied to finally grab a win in Phoenix

Matsuyama has recorded four wins and two runner-up spots in his last eight starts worldwide and once again put himself into contention as he racked up six birdies, including four in his first nine holes. Like Kuchar, Matsuyama was also able to play a bogey free round and shot a six under 65 on his opening day.

"I wish I knew why I play well here but I did hit the ball very well today", said Matsuyama, speaking through an interpreter.

Pat Perez, who has two top ten finishes since the new year, withdrew midway through his round due to a shoulder injury.

The defending champion may have upset a few locals a year ago when he edged out fan-favourite Rickie Fowler to win a tense play-off, but all would have been forgiven if his wedge at the infamous "Coliseum" had been slightly further left.

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"I love people making noise".

Right behind Kuchar on the leaderboard, though, is Hideki Matsuyama, who won the tournament previous year. "Hopefully coming back to the desert, especially here in Scottsdale, revitalized me".

"The support I get from the fans here is unconditional", Rahm said.

Spain's Jon Rahm, a first-time victor last week at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, played collegiately at Arizona State in nearby Tempe. Had some great shots to get the confidence going, and I have confidence in the driver.

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"Hard to keep up with yesterday's seven-under", he said. At the end of the day, I'm in another event and I'm here to hopefully win again.

Justin Thomas, already a three-time victor this year, and Jordan Spieth join the likes of Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Daniel Berger in a solid field.

Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, hits from the 18th fairway during the second round of the Phoenix Open golf tournament, on February 3, 2017, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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