Bubba Hot Fav To Fire It Up In Phoenix
Bubba Watson goes into the Phoenix Open in Arizona this weekend as hot favourite. Can last year’s joint runner-up go one better this time around?
This week the PGA Tour moves inland from the west coast for the ever-popular Phoenix Open. It’s the best attended tournament on the PGA circuit and last year set a tournament week attendance record of 563,008 spectators, having broken the PGA record for attendance on a single day in 2013. Phil Mickelson is the crowd favourite and is one of only three players to have won the event three times.
The Stadium Course at the TPC of Scottsdale is set in the Somoran Desert. At 7216 yards, this par 71 is not the most demanding on the Tour, and the lowest round record score of 60 is jointly held by three players.
Abundant bunkers are the only significant hazard and big hitters thrive there, although history suggests that course form is important. The venue is most notable for the famous ‘amphitheatre’ of the 16th hole, the only fully enclosed hole on the PGA Tour.
In The Bunker
Jordan Speith is the rising star of PGA golf and heads to Phoenix as second favourite in the antepost betting list, but I think he can be opposed this week. This is his first visit to the Phoenix Open and he may take a round or two to adjust to the unique atmosphere. He’s also entitled to be a little rusty, having been out of action since December. At odds of 15/1, better value lies elsewhere.
The market makes Bubba Watson favourite, and it’s hard to find any flaw in his credentials.
He’s picked up in 2015 where he left off last year, finishing in the top ten at the Tournament of Champions and he has now made the top twenty-five in his last six tournaments. He lost out by one shot to Kevin Stadler in this event last year, having led after each of the first three rounds and will be keen to make up for that disappointment.
Back him to go one better at 15/1.
After his breakthrough season in 2014, Patrick Reed kicked off the new year in style, winning his fourth PGA title at the Tournament of Champions, and following that up with a solid performance at the Humana Challenge last week. This is his second visit to the Phoenix Open, but he went well there last year, hitting 67 in both of his opening rounds, and in his current form, he looks a good bet at 25/1.
And at the same price, it’s also worth considering Hideki Matsuyama. He finished down the field at the Sony Open a couple of weeks back but prior to that had started the year with a third at the Tournament of Champions, and has good reason to feel optimistic this week, having finished fourth in this event at his first attempt last year.