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Scott Shapiro's Phoenix Open preview

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January 28th, 2020

The PGA tour moves east to the Sonoran Desert this week for one of the more entertaining events on the calendar.

The Phoenix Open is played on the par 71 TPC Scottsdale that was designed in 1986, upgraded in 2014, and is most known for its stadium par 3 and raucous environment. A strong approach game, the ability to score on the easy par 5s (as well as par 4s between 450 to 500 yards) and distance off the tee are stats to emphasize at TPC Scottsdale.

Odds to win the Phoenix Open

Golfer Odds
Jon Rahm
+600
Justin Thomas
+850
Webb Simpson
+1400
Xander Schauffele
+1600
Rickie Fowler
+1600
Hideki Matsuyama
+1600
Another strong field is assembled in Arizona, led by several past winners and last week’s runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open, Jon Rahm. Thanks to a 7-under 65 Saturday at Torrey Pines, Rahm carried a one-stroke lead into the final round. Unfortunately for those who backed the Spaniard, he started slow Sunday and was unable to score enough late to earn his second title at the event.

Rahm, along with 2020 Tournament of Champions victor Justin Thomas, sit atop the outright-winner market at BetAmerica. Last year’s champion Rickie Fowler, two-time champ Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, and my top choice make up a strong second tier of options.

Here is my betting card for the 2020 Phoenix Open.

Xander Schauffele (+1600)

Schauffele was on my card at Torrey Pines and disappointed, but I am willing to go right back to the San Diego native again this week, even though he missed the cut in his hometown. Schauffele sits atop my model over the last 24 rounds and has finished in the top 20 each of the last two years at the Phoenix Open, including a 10th-place finish in 2019.

The 2017 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year ranks third in the field over his last 24 rounds on Par 5s, 12th in birdies or better gained, 10th in scrambling, and is one of the best ball strikers on tour. He comes in well rested, because he did not play over the weekend in the Farmers Insurance Open.

The price is not amazing, but I love the bounce-back spot.

Victor Hovland (+4500)

Hovland burst onto the scene in 2019 as the low amateur at the Masters in April and followed it up with the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur in the U.S. Open two months later. The 22-year-old Norwegian turned pro immediately after his 12th-place finish at Pebble Beach and played well during the summer. However, he has been underwhelming since then.

Despite the lack of strong form heading into Phoenix, I give Hovland a serious chance this weekend, because he fits this course so well. He ranks second in this field over the last 24 rounds in strokes gained approach, 13th in par 5 scoring, and first in scoring opportunities gained. It is just a matter of time until he captures his first victory on the PGA Tour.

Lanto Griffin (+11000)

Griffin was a relatively popular longshot selection last week at the Farmers Insurance Open, after a seventh-place finish at the Sony Open in Honolulu, but he got off to a slow start and never recovered. His tee-to-green game was not as good as it was in his first two starts in 2020 in Hawaii, but it was not awful. He just could not make a putt to save his life. He lost 3.1 strokes on the greens.

I am not concerned with the poor effort in Southern California from the 2019 Houston Open winner, especially since he rates out so well at this course. Over the last 24 rounds, Griffin ranks second in the field in par 5 scoring and in the top 20 in strokes gained ball striking, birdies or better gained, and scoring opportunities gained.

At more than 100-1, Griffin is worth a shot with as a longshot option.




Golf offers some of the best value in sports wagering. Check out all the matchups and other betting options at BetAmerica!

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