Patrick Reed came through a tough field to win at Torrey Pines last week by a record-breaking margin, though the American won’t be taking to the tee here this week in Scottsdale, where Webb Simpson is looking to defend his title from last year.
Sitting at 7,261 yards, the stadium course has some iconic holes, not least the par-3 16th. In fact, the last three holes are arguably all the most fascinating with the 17th a reachable par-4 and the 18th over water rewarding the brave.
Unlike last week at Torrey Pines, Scottsdale is far more forgiving from the rough with the greens more receptive. It’s therefore no wonder why those who tend to find the green with consistency do well around here, with four of the last five winners of this Open ranking in the top-six for Greens in Regulation (GIR) over the week.
2019 winner Rickie Fowler highlighted the importance of resilience off the tee after his victory, and the stats certainly back that up.
Of the last five winners, Fowler was the only one who didn’t rank first or second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, as the American relied heavily on his putter that week, gaining over 9.5 strokes on the green.
Waste Management Open Betting Tips
Webb Simpson 12/1
There are a lot of players who can stake a claim here, one of which is Webb Simpson (12/1). Last year’s win was no fluke, and his game fits this course down to a tee.
He’s had seven top-20 finishes in his eight appearances here, including five top-10s, a first and a second.
He ranked 11th for GIR on tour last year, and he led the field in par-4 performance, with only one player having a better average than him so far this season, though at his price there are reservations.
His Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green leaves a lot to be desired, and while he’s not had a poor start to the season, he’s placed outside the top-10 in four of his six starts since the US Open in September, and in a strong field there looks to be more value elsewhere.
Will Zalatoris 40/1
The first name that catches our eye further down in the market is Will Zalatoris (40/1). The young American has made a strong start to his return to the PGA Tour, kicking-off with a tied sixth finish at the US Open with Dustin Johnson, following that up with top-10s at Punta Cana, Las Vegas and at Torrey Pines last week. He ranks fourth this season for Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green and fifth in approaching the green.
He’s established himself as one of the biggest hitters on tour, ranking in the top-10 for driving distance in each of his made cuts since the US Open, which will undoubtedly stand him in good stead on some of the scoring holes here and at his price, we’ll back him to have another strong week.
Bubba Watson 40/1
The next name on our list is Bubba Watson (40/1). He’s got excellent course pedigree with seven top-20 finishes in his last nine starts here, including five top-fives, and finishing third and fourth here in the last two years.
He drives the ball really well around here, ranking in the top-five for driving distance in 10 of his 12 made cuts on this course and will be desperate to make that count with his first win this week.
What’s more, he leads this field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green this season, and while he missed his first cut since July at the Farmers last week, you only need to look back to October for his best form.
A fourth and seventh placed finish at the Zozo and CJ Cup respectively, shows what he’s capable of, while he ranked in the top-10 for GIR in both those competitions, as well as leading the field in that regard at the US Open back in September. He’s more than capable of putting on a show here and he looks a long enough price to get behind.
SungJae Im 28/1
When the PGA tour come to a Bermuda-grass course, there’s little shying away from SungJae Im (28/1).
These conditions aren’t better suited to any player on tour than the Korean, who proved that with a top-10 finish on his debut here two years ago, gaining over five strokes approaching the green on that occasion.
His recent form is slightly up and down, though his underlying statistics make for good reading and you only need to look back to the Tournament of Champions held on the Bermuda grass Plantation Course at Kapalua, Hawaii for a fifth placed finish for Sungjae, where he led the field from tee to green.
Mistakes have halted his progress in recent weeks despite dominant displays as he led at halfway at the Amex two weeks ago, where he putted phenomenally well, while he also gave Patrick Reed a bit of a scare last week before dropping off due to some putting errors.
Those should be ironed out when putting on this grass though, and at a decent price, he looks a good bet to take the game to the big guns at the top of the market.