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16D AGO

Draws & Fades: Nick Taylor on track to keep longshot love alive, but others lurk

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Draws and Fades

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    Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The longshot trend on the PGA TOUR is well and truly alive as Nick Taylor — a +10000 pre-tournament selection — has the lead through two and a half rounds at TPC Scottsdale.

    Taylor, a runner-up at the tournament a year ago, moved to 13-under for the week through seven holes of his third round, one-shot clear of Sahith Theegala (12-under through seven) and two ahead of Doug Ghim (11-under through 8) and Andrew Novak (11-under through 7 holes).

    Jordan Spieth finished birdie-birdie before darkness halted play to sit at 10-under through nine holes and just three back.

    Pre-tournament favorite Scottie Scheffler’s chase for a threepeat in the event is also alive as he sits at 8-under through seven holes, with a 12-foot, 7-inch birdie putt to come on resumption of play.

    Here are the latest odds from BetMGM Sportsbook followed by my thoughts on who to target ahead of the resumption of play.

    • +333: Sahith Theegala (12-under through six holes, 2nd)
    • +500: Nick Taylor (13-under through nine holes, 1st)
    • +550: Jordan Spieth (-10-under through nine ho;es, 5th)
    • +650: Scottie Scheffler (8-under through seven holes, T10)
    • +1200: Justin Thomas (8-under through eight holes, T10)
    • +1200: Cameron Young (9-under thru nine holes, T6)
    • +1200: Doug Ghim (11-under through seven holes, T3)
    • +2000: Sam Burns (8-under through nine holes, T10)
    • +2500: Andrew Novak (11-under through seven, T3)

    DRAWS

    Nick Taylor (+500)

    O Canada! The runner-up in 2023 is looking to atone with victory this time around and given he sits inside the top 32 of all five major Strokes Gained categories — including leading the field in SG: Putting — I am a firm believer he can.

    Since losing to Scheffler a year ago he has broken the Canadian curse at his home open, taking down a world-class player in Tommy Fleetwood in a playoff at the RBC Canadian Open.

    The pressure and atmosphere on that occasion rivaled what faces him in Phoenix tomorrow and was arguably tougher.

    Justin Thomas (+1200)

    I am admittedly, potentially, flogging a dead horse here.

    But as my pre-tournament pick, I am going to ride him all the way home and at least his odds are a little juicier than the other contenders.

    Thomas is 8-under through eight holes and missing more putts than I’d like to see (44th in Putting) but he remains fourth in SG: Tee-to-Green and if he can see a few drop, then he might be able to make a run at the leaders.

    At the very least, he looks set to add a fifth top-10 in his last six WM Phoenix Opens.

    FADE

    Scottie Scheffler (+650)

    Taking a risk here on the world No.1 but he’s five back and not showing the killer instinct that I look for in a hunting pack.

    Scheffler is losing shots to the field around the greens and while his putting is better than the field average, he’s still not reaching the heights on the greens he had in winning the last two seasons here.

    It’s been since 2009-11 that a threepeat happened on TOUR and I feel Steve Striker’s mark will remain.

    If I am honest, the 12-foot birdie putt on the 8th green he faces on resumption is huge. If he makes it, it could springboard him forward. If he misses, I’m ready to put a fork in him, as he’s done.

    Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.

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