Waste Management Phoenix Open Predictions
TPC Scottsdale has been known for many magical moments throughout the year. One of biggest was Tigers Woods’ one-hop hole in one at the 16th hole in 1997. Spectators moved a boulder for Woods at the 13th just two years later. There was also Andrew Magee’s hole in one on the par-4 17th thanks to some help from Tom Bynum’s putter.
While these magical moments tend to stand out most, there has been some agony, too. Spencer Levin blew a six-stroke lead heading into the final round last year, shooting a 4-over 75 to finish in third. He would finish two strokes behind Kyle Stanley, who came back from eight shots down on the final day to win. What made that victory even more impressive was the fact that Stanley had blown a big lead on the final day at Torrey Pines the previous week.
Last year marked the third straight time that the 54-hole leader failed to go on to win. In 2010, Brandt Snedeker’s 78 on the final day had him going from a one shot lead to a 43rd place finish. He went bogey, double, double on his final three holes that year. Hunter Mahan was the winner after coming back from a four-shot deficit to start the final round. In 2011, Tommy Gainey had a one-shot lead going into Sunday only to shoot 74 and tie for 8th.
TPC Scottsdale has ranked among the easiest par 71s on Tour. Still, there are plenty of challenges to be had out in the desert. Players usually take more aggressive lines off of the tee, which is a big reason why accuracy has been down the past few years. The greens are much slower than the players are used to as they average no more than 12 on the Stimpmeter. Also, short putts are no gimmes considering TPC Scottsdale has ranked inside the top 20 most challenging courses in proximity to the hole in eight of the past nine years. Also, the par-4 18th has averaged over par in each of the past four years.
Top 4 Contenders
Hunter Mahan (+2500) – Mahan came from four shots back on Sunday to win this event in 2010. While he has just one other top 25 in six appearances (T9, 2005), he comes in playing very well after a T18 at Torrey Pines last week.
Scott Piercy (+3500) – Piercy had quietly registered six straight top 15s before missing the cut at Torrey Pines last week. That extra prep time could pay off at TPC Scottsdale, where he’s recorded three top 15s in four career appearances. He has carded 11 of 16 rounds in the 60s at this event.
Vijay Singh (+8000) – While he’ll turn 50 in less than a month, Singh continues to get it done on Tour. He has made the cut in 14 consecutive starts, finishing in the top 10 four times. He is a two-time winner (1995, 2003) at TPC Scottsdale with six top 10s, including a T3 in 2011.
Tommy Gainey (+12500) – Gainey was going for a wire-to-wire breakthrough victory in 2011 after leading in each round through 54 holes. However, a closing 74 had him settling for a T8. He was in the hunt until a triple bogey at 17, and he’ll be looking for some redemption this year at excellent odds.
Long Shot Pick
Kevin Streelman (+27500) – A resident of Scottsdale, Streelman has had a week off since his T10 at the Humana Challenge. He has an active run of seven straight rounds in the 60s, and he’s 6th in on Tour in adjusted scoring, 9th in greens hit and 13th in the all-around. Streelman has made 10 consecutive cuts dating back to last year’s Greenbrier Classic.
2013 record after 3 events: (-15 Units)
Sony Open -5 Units
Humana Challenge -5 Units
Farmers Insurance Open -5 Units