Ryan Palmer of the USA led the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale when play was suspended because of darkness.

Ryan Palmer of the USA led the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale when play was suspended because of darkness.

Palmer fired a seven-under-par 64 to finish the day one shot clear of his countrymen Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Daniel Berger.

On the back of a top-10 finish in last week’s Humana Challenge, Palmer kept up the good form in Scottsdale. The Texan was seven-under-par for his first 12 holes, then parred his way in for a 64.

The attendance for the day was a staggering 118,461 – some 30,000 more than the record for a Thursday at this event. More people came to watch the first round at Scottsdale than will go to the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Keegan Bradley had a bogey at the 1st hole, but seven birdies gave him a fine 65. That matched Bubba Watson who fired five birdies and an eagle against just one bogey.

Surprise of the day was young Daniel Berger. The 21-year-old, who turned pro in 2013 after two years at Florida State University, started on the 10th and made six birdies on the back nine. He was still six-under-par with two to go when play was suspended.

Many of the fans came to see the return of Tiger Woods. The former World Number 1 had an up-and-down day, carding a two-over-par 73. He made a tap-in eagle at the par-5 13th and he drove the green par-4 17th. But he struggled with his chipping and his driving was somewhat erratic.

Woods was hitting the ball a long way in his first competitive round of 2015 – averaging over 318 yards off the tee. But he wasn’t hitting it very straight – he found just five of 14 fairways.

Scotland’s Martin Laird is the best-placed European player after day one. He fired a five-under-par 66 and sits in a tie for fifth place.

Waste Management Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona
Jan 29 – Feb 1, purse: $6,300,000, par: 71

1    Ryan Palmer (USA)        64
T2    Keegan Bradley (USA)        65
T2    Bubba Watson (USA)        65
T2    Daniel Berger (USA)        (-6 after 16)
T5    Zach Johnson (USA)        66
T5    Robert Streb (USA)        66
T5    Ben Martin (USA)            66
T5    Martin Laird (Sco)            66

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage