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Horses for Courses: Major champions top the charts at WM Phoenix Open

3 Min Read

Horses for Courses

Horses for Courses: Major champions top the charts at WM Phoenix Open

    Written by Mike Glasscott @MikeGlasscott

    With the Super Bowl in town and a super field at the designated WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, the Arizona desert will be flush with stars this week. Since 1987 TPC Scottsdale has provided the backdrop for one of the biggest crowds for any sporting event, but in recent years the winner’s pedigree has ticked up a notch. Tom Weiskopf modernized his original design for the 2015 event, and every winner since has won either a major championship, PLAYERS Championship or both.

    In looking for players who thrive on the par-71 layout, Hideki Matsuyama (+2800) is the only champion to successfully defend, having gone back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. The 2021 Masters winner finished T-4 or better in his first four visits to TPC Scottsdale. He's cashed seven top 25 paychecks from eight visits with five of those, including T8 last year, going for top-10s.

    Scottie Scheffler (+1200), like Matsuyama, only needed three tries to crack the code. The defending champ this week posted a 62 in Round 3 last year before knocking out debutant Patrick Cantlay (+2000) in a three-hole playoff. The tall Texan posted the total, 16 under, in 2021 to share seventh.

    Missing out on victories the last two years, Xander Schauffele (+1600) will be poised to run well again this time around. Playing in the final group in 2020 he fell one short and shared second. Last year he sat just two shots off the 54-hole lead before sharing third. He's never MC in five visits while accumulating three top-10s and nothing worse than T17.

    Justin Thomas (+2000) has checked THE PLAYERS and major champion boxes, so it's hardly a surprise he runs well here. After MC in two of his first three he's rattled off five straight with top 10s in three of the last four, including a pair of podium (3rd, T-3) paychecks.

    World No. 3 Jon Rahm (+750) is the betting favorite as of Tuesday, but he's never hit the podium in seven tries. He's also never missed the weekend. The former Arizona State Sun Devil has never finished worse than T16, but T5 as an undergrad is the best of the lot.

    Sharing the redesign course record of 61 set in 2021, Jordan Spieth (+4000) will look to add to his three top 10 paydays in six visits. The other three visits include a pair of missed cuts and T60 last season.

    Former champions in the field this week include 2019 victor and two-time runner-up Rickie Fowler (+6600), who finished T11 at Torrey in his most recent start. Gary Woodland (+12500) won here the year prior in 2018 and backed up his defense with T-7 before winning the US Open in 2019.

    Webb Simpson (+20000) knocked out Tony Finau in a playoff here in 2020 as he birdied the final two holes of regulation. He also lost a playoff in 2017, one of his five paydays inside the top 10. He will hope a return to familiar turf can net his first top-50 finish since the Travelers Championship in June.

    JB Holmes (+50000) is the only other multiple winner in the field this week besides Matsuyama, but his two wins came back in 2006 and 2008. He makes his 17th start this week and is T26 or better in four of his last six visits.

    Billy Horschel (+8000) has picked off T6 and T9 results in two of his last three here but has also cashed in eight straight.

    Top 10 - 2022(entered this week; * - multiple top 10 finishes)

    *Scottie Scheffler - WIN
    Patrick Cantlay - P2
    *Xander Schauffele - T3
    Sahith Theegala - T3
    *Billy Horschel - T6
    Alex Noren - T6
    *Hideki Matsuyama - T8
    *Justin Thomas - T8
    Matt Fitzpatrick - T10
    *Jon Rahm - T10
    Keith Mitchell - T10
    Patton Kizzire - T10

    -odds courtesy of BETMGM.COM-

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