After three weeks on the California coast, the Arizona desert is the focus for our PGA Tour picks as we study the odds for some WM Phoenix Open tips.
World number one Jon Rahm is joined by five other members of the top 10, including two-time winner and reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka also returns to a TPC Scottsdale course famous for the raucous atmosphere generated by thousands of fans packed into the numerous grandstands surrounding the par-three 16th.
The 17th is a driveable par four with water surrounding the green and an exciting finish is almost guaranteed on Super Bowl weekend.
JON RAHM TO WIN @ 8.50
It is no surprise to see Rahm installed as favourite given that the WM Phoenix Open is the event where he enjoyed his breakthrough performance, finishing fifth in 2015 while still an amateur.
Since then the Ryder Cup star has finished no worse than 16th in five appearances and is clearly suited by a venue which requires the kind of quality ball striking synonymous with himself and the likes of Koepka and Matsuyama, both two-time winners.
So far in 2022 Rahm was only denied victory by a record-breaking performance from Cameron Smith in the Sentry Tournament of Champions, finished 14th when unhappy with the “putting contest” set-up at The American Express and was a shot outside the play-off for the Farmers Insurance Open at his beloved Torrey Pines.
Even at short odds, Rahm is good value to give us a run for our money with the first of our PGA Tour picks.
TONY FINAU TO WIN @ 41.00
Finau was a popular choice to perform well in the Farmers Insurance Open a fortnight ago, only to follow an opening 67 with a second round of 77 and miss the cut.
A tie for 28th in the Saudi International was equally nothing to write home about, but the good news is that such performances have been reflected in the price of 41.00.
After four straight missed cuts at TPC Scottsdale Finau suddenly got to grips with the course in 2020 and shot a third round of 62 before going on to lose out in a play-off to Webb Simpson, who birdied the last two holes in regulation and first extra hole.
HUDSON SWAFFORD TO FINISH IN TOP 20 @ 5.00
It is just three weeks since Swafford produced a brilliant closing 64 to win The American Express, the American breaking clear on a packed leaderboard with an eagle-birdie-par finish.
With such a strong field in Phoenix, odds of 151.0 also appeal in the outright market, but we will take a more conservative approach given Swafford’s mixed form in the event.
Swafford has missed the cut three times in four starts, but the only time he made the weekend he was very much in contention after 54 holes before fading to ninth with a closing 74.
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