This year’s Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale is loaded, which could make your head spin if you’re interested in placing any units on the festivities. Normally at tournaments like this one, there are two or maybe three top players who headline. But with five of the top 10 involved this year and 10 of the top 20, it seems as if the entire tournament is tilting toward the top of the Official World Golf Rankings.
Even more so because a lot of these top guys are playing quite well at the moment. Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm were in the mix last week. Xander Schauffele finished second for his first-ever top 10 at Torrey Pines. Webb Simpson has had a nice start to the year. The only top-10 player coming off a poor performance is Justin Thomas, who might be the scariest player in the field.
So let’s try to cut through some of the noise with my five best (most interesting?) bets going to this weekend’s Phoenix fun, all courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook.
1. Sam Burns top 20 (+275)
A juke right off the top! It got lost with everything else amid the Cirque du Reed last weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open, but Burns was actually in the final group with Reed before firing a 75 to fall out of the top 10. Over the last three months, the only player better than Burns from tee to green has been Thomas (and Rory is third). Good company and a good omen for him at TPC Scottsdale.
2. Will Zalatoris top 20 (+163)
Here’s a good stat on Zalatoris: of the last 18 professional golf tournaments he’s played, he’s finished outside the top 20 just twice. Yes, most of those were on the Korn Ferry Tour, but he also has top 10s at both the U.S. Open at Winged Foot and last week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. His name has not yet caught up to his game.
3. Sungjae Im over Harris English (+100)
Though English has been better overall for the last six months, Im has been better recently. English is coming off a T32-MC combo in his last two, while Im sniffed the lead on Sunday at Torrey before an epic collapse. Since Jan. 1 — even with English’s win at the Tournament of Champions — Im has been about twice as good from tee to green.
4. Justin Thomas or Rory McIlroy to win (+500)
I’m more concerned about Jon Rahm challenging this than I am the rest of the field. This place sets up so well for both of them (Data Golf has McIlroy as the player who most benefits from this course), and tag-teaming them here at 5-1 — a number you could talk yourself into on either of them individually when they’re on heaters — casts a nice net.
5. Xander Schauffele top 10 finish (+110)
No holes, never finished outside the top 20 here, coming off a T2 last week. Feels like a lock.
Who wins the Waste Management Phoenix Open? And which long shots should you back? Visit SportsLine to see the projected leaderboard, all from the projection model that’s nailed six golf majors and is up almost $11,000 since the restart.