This week we head to TPC Scottsdale in Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix Open which hosts the loudest and largest crowd on the PGA Tour. The course is set in the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by the picturesque McDowell Mountains.
The crowd is expected to be around 500,000 for the 4 days and most of the students from nearby Arizona State University come out to cheer on the players.
The course is a Par 71, measuring 7266 yards, with 79 sand bunkers which are strategically placed around the greens and on the fairways. There are also 6 holes which feature water including 3 of the last 4 holes, which makes for exciting golf.
Scoring is generally low so players can be aggressive on this course however they have to pick their moments as several holes can jump up and bite you hard. Looking at the past 10 winners they have averaged -18, so expect the same this year.
The 16th hole is a par 3 and is considered the ‘party’ hole. It is the only fully enclosed hole on the PGA tour. Stands are erected around the hole and fans go wild if a player lands the ball on the green or holes a putt for birdie, whilst giving them an almighty boo should they miss the green altogether or miss an easy putt. It is no place for the faint hearted.
Phil Mickelson is a real crowd favourite here as he is an Arizona State University Alumni and the crowd love getting behind him especially after his record breaking win in 2013 when he finished at -28.
The Bookies Top 6 in betting are- $15.00 Bubba Watson, $17.00 Jordan Spieth, $21.00 Rickie Fowler, $21.00 Matt Kuchar and $21.00 Phil Mickelson and $21.00 Tiger Woods.
The two players to follow this week are-
Harris jumps out as the man to back this week due to a few reasons. Last season he had five Top 10 finishes from 27 starts. What stands out is that four of those came in his first six tournaments of the year. One of those being a 9th in this tournament.
From two starts this year Englsih has already notched up his first Top 10 of the year with a T3rd at the Sony Open. He followed that up with a T30th last week at the Humana Challenge.
Last week at the Humana he was ranked 3rd in greens in regulation, 35th in strokes gained putting and 7th in driving distance. So we know he is playing well and hitting it sweet.
When you look at his stats for the season you will also notice that he is ranked 13th in greens in regulation, 8th in scoring average and 15th in scrambling. One stat that I really like is that from 247 putts inside 10 feet he has made 92% of them. Add that with his greens in regulation stats and you have a bloke who is ready to put some impressive numbers on the board this week.
At the start of 2014 Piercy played five tournaments before having surgery on his right arm. Five months later he was back on the tour and hit the ground running. From his eight starts post surgery he managed four Top 20 finishes.
He then started 2015 in great fashion with a 2nd at the Sony Open and T30th at the Humana Challenge. It looks like his arm issues are well and truely behind him now. At the Humana he was ranked 8th in strokes gained tee to green, 34th in strokes gained putting and 28th in putts per green in regulation. Add that to his Sony Open stats of 10th in strokes gained putting, 15th in greens in regulation and 18th in strokes gained tee to green and you have yourself a player who is enjoying his golf.
From six starts at this tournament Piercy has has manged five Top 15 finishes which includes a 3rd in 2013. An injury free Piercy is a player to follow this season. At 45/1 he represents an excellent each way prospect.
Last Weeks Results
Our two selections had totally different tournaments. Zac Blair (125/1) missed the cut while Charley Hoffman came home like a train to finish T2nd at 40/1.