Steve Bamford's Phoenix Open Tips
It has to be said that I was tempted to go with Lefty at TPC Scottsdale this week in the Phoenix Open. Okay he did my dough at Pebble Beach a fortnight ago BUT his game looked like it was improving. The real reason I fancied him at such skinny odds was pure HISTORY. Mickelson has won a tournament in the first two months of a season 8 out of 10 times since 2000. Impressive!
However I’ve decided to keep my powder dry. The reason? Well you don’t associate Arizona with rain do you? Phoenix has had more rain in the past month than it had in the whole of 2009 so ……… ‘the rough is up!’ The course is wet and rough is up to 5” high. Reality is Lefty is likely to struggle to keep the ball on the fairway, so may well be punished over the course of the event.
News of the extremely damp conditions has changed my thought process around the whole week. With Perry, Holmes and Mickelson winning 4 of the last 5 Phoenix Opens it’s easy to say that big hitters win here. However this course is all about birdies and low scores. We need individuals who can shoot birdies on Par 4s in particular, plus who are decent overall drivers of the ball.
On top of that look at the CVs of Perry and Mickelson and 3 tournaments jump off the page, where these 2 have made hay. The desert based Bob Hope, Colonial in Texas and The Memorial at Muirfield Ohio. Players who have a decent record on these courses go well at TPC Scottsdale. My Tips:
Brian Gay 1pt EW @ 35/1 @ Coral RESULT: T68
Brian only plays well on short courses right! Well with TPC Scottsdale measuring circa 7,200 yards as a Par 71, the Texan can navigate round here pretty well. Indeed his last win at TPC Southwind came on a longer Par 70. The Phoenix Open Predictor model No 1 pick, Gay finished 6th here last season and has made 8 appearances so he knows the course intermittently. Accuracy and a shockingly good short game make him a great pick for success this week and with 3 PGA Tour wins he can go the whole way. Colonial friendly.
I love the look of Toms this week and 66s is a great price. Again like Gay he’s no power hitter, but this guy hits fairways each and every round. The World No 53 also has an unbelievably consistent record here. 4 T10s sounds good as does 7 T20s! Tom’s unsurprisingly is our Predictor model No 5 pick and sat 9th in Scoring Average last season. For an EW pick you’ll struggle to beat Toms this week. Colonial and Memorial positive.
You won’t find Moore in Predictor model this week and I’m majorly surprised by that. With the ‘rough up’ driving will be vital. Las Vegas resident Moore ranks No2 in total driving for 2010 and that’s no fluke. He ranked 8th in the same category across the 2009 season. Ryan loves desert golf and finished 6th here last year. Add to that he also clinched his first PGA Tour victory at the Wyndham so he won’t be scared to win. A 2nd and 10th at Muirfield and 5th at the BHC in the past 3 seasons also looks attractive.
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Jonathan Byrd 2pts Top 10 @ 6/1 RESULT: Missed Cut
I don’t think S Carolina based Byrd will win but he can certainly Top 10 this week. 4th in Birdie Average, 2nd in Par Breakers and 16th in Par 4 Performance across the 2009 season are attractive numbers on a course where scoring is required. If he hits a few more fairways this week he can go low. Memorial positive.
All I have to say is look at this Predictor model and his playing CV. He’s playing half decent as well….get on!