Sleeper Picks: WM Phoenix Open
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Taylor Montgomery (+180 for a Top 20) … Yeah, yeah, the rookie is eighth in the FedExCup with four top 10s and another four top 15s, but he’s never traipsed through the arena of TPC Scottdale like this. He’s still but a growing fish in a very large pond – uh, in the desert – in what is, as it is for most in the field, his debut in a designated event, but his superior combination of muscle and firepower is exactly what the track rewards.
J.T. Poston (+300 for a Top 20) … In the olden days of Sleepers, he’d be ineligible at 49th in the Official World Golf Ranking, but in a field of this strength, it’s reasonable to extend to purists the notion of relative value. On the other hand, the fair counterargument is that he’s been one of the most consistently strong performers since the special fortnight that was end-loaded by victory in the Quad Cities last summer. So, OWGR aside, and quite simply, don’t forget about this guy as you’re gazing at taller trees. He bridged the holiday break with a trio of T21s and has rested since a T6 at PGA West. He’s also 4-for-4 at TPC Scottsdale with top 25s in the last two editions. Holds his own off the tee and ranks T12 in par-5 scoring. Also T13 in greens hit and 33rd in converting those chances into par breakers.
Hayden Buckley (+500 for a Top 20) … As the last man in this field in his debut as a PGA TOUR rookie last year, and on merit at that, it wasn’t a surprise that he couldn’t cash the chip, but missed cuts still yield experience. It pays forward to marry currently brilliant form as a sophomore. He’s 10th in total driving, third in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee, T13 in greens hit and 28th in SG: Tee-to-Green, it’s again not a surprise that he’s 19th in the FedExCup with a pair of top fives among four top 20s. The 26-year-old is trending hard enough that it might not be long before we’ll wonder what happens to values like this week’s.
Brendan Steele (+300 for a Top 20) … Although he’s recorded four top 10s among six top 20s at TPC Scottsdale, it’s been five years since he last exhibited any magic on the course, but the veteran of a dozen consecutive appearances knows that timing is everything. Setting aside a couple of haunts on the PGA TOUR where his game almost always has translated, he’s presented more often as a streaky player. With a steadily improving T48-T32-T20 to open 2023, the 39-year-old is poised to rekindle something special. That’s why this prop is worth at least a fraction of a unit.
Wyndham Clark … When he last appeared as a Sleeper, it was in Houston in November and the message was “retreat into a top-30 or -40 market where available.” Lo and behold, he went out and hung up a T16. He has a pair of those and a T10 contributing to six consecutive paydays upon arrival, so his confidence is live. He’s also gone off at TPC Scottsdale with a 61 in the opening round in 2020; overall, he’s 2-for-4 but still sans a top 30. Most impressive in the big picture as he’s flattening the skill set by giving his strength as a putter more opportunities to go low. A top-20 market is aggressive in this field, but he’s featured here because he’s on the shortlist to deliver on the potential.
Odds were sourced on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. For live odds, visit BetMGM.