Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open
2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open Fantasy Preview
It might have taken him five days and 78 holes, but Jason Day finally got over the line to claim the Farmers Insurance Open title early on Monday.
The Aussie was locked at -10 alongside Alex Noren and Ryan Palmer after 72 holes of regulation play at Torrey Pines, and when Palmer bogeyed the first extra hole it was down to Day and Noren to duke it out.
The 30-year-old isn’t the fastest player in the world, and that – coupled with JB Holmes taking an eternity when playing alongside Noren in regulation play in an act of terrible sportsmanship – meant that darkness fell and the two combatants had to return on Monday.
Which they did, and Day finally got over the line when Noren chunked his approach to the sixth playoff hole. It’s the eleventh PGA TOUR title for a player who has shown plenty of character to come back so strong after capitulating so badly at his home Australian Open in November.
After the thrilling conclusion at Torrey Pines, the players can expect an equally knee-trembling conclusion at TPC Scottsdale with its exciting quartet of holes that will ultimately provide a grandstand finish for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Four of the top seven players in the world are in Scottsdale to duke it out for this one; it’s fair to say the PGA TOUR season is really starting to heat up!
Rickie Fowler plays his shot from the fifth tee during the second…
Rickie Fowler plays his shot from the fifth tee during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 26, 2018 in San Diego, California. Get premium, high Resolution News Photos at Getty Images
Last Week’s Fantasy Results from the Farmers Insurance Open
We were pulling hard for our top Sleeper Pick Alex Noren to grab the victory last week but in the end he fell short to Jason Day in a six-hole playoff. Regardless, Noren’s 14 birdies, 2 eagles, and 2nd place finish (against a $7,800 price tag) helped fuel a lot of DFS rosters.
Other shining lights for us were Keegan Bradley (T5) and super-sleeper pick Brandon Harkins (T12). In total we made 5/7 cuts on our main picks and 4/5 on our Tuesday Sleeper Report with our best finisher there being Charles Howell III (T6).
A marshall holds the leaderboard sign with Jason Day and Alex Noren…
A marshall holds the leaderboard sign with Jason Day and Alex Noren on 18th hole playoff on the South Course during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Across the pond, we faired well at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic with our Top Pick Henrik Stenson finishing T6 and our Mid level pick Tyrell Hatton finishing in a solo 3rd.
2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open Field
Hideki Matsuyama will look to become the first player to successfully win the same tournament three years in a row since Steve Stricker tripled up at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11, but the bad news for the Japanese sensation is that a stellar field will be looking to stop him from doing just that.
Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler are all ensconced firmly in the world’s top ten players, while the in-form Marc Leishman, Farmers playoff protagonist Alex Noren and TPC Scottsdale specialists Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and Brendan Steele will all be looking to rip the trophy out of Matsuyama’s hands.
The experienced Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson can never truly be discounted in this part of the world, while young guns like Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele will be looking to stamp their authority on proceedings.
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan plays his shot from the 13th tee during the…
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan plays his shot from the 13th tee during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on January 25, 2018 in San Diego, California. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
This Week’s Course Preview
If TPC Scottsdale was to host a music festival, it would definitely be something along the lines of the high-octane, raucous Reading & Leeds rather than the laidback vibes of Coachella.
There are all sorts of marketing slogans relating to the course and most are ‘party’ related, but look beyond that and you will find a fascinating test of golf that features one of the best finishes anywhere on the PGA TOUR.
But yes: it is hard to resist the claims that this is the people’s course given that combined crowds in excess of 500,000 line the fairways across the four days! The main area of concentration is at the sixteenth hole’s legendary amphitheater, which seats 20,000 and ensures a rowdy reception for the players.
It’s back to Bermuda grass this week at this 7,266 yard, Par 71 layout that was designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf more than 30 years ago. Sitting 1500 feet above sea level, the tracks plays a lot shorter than the yardage prescribed, and the Par 4s in particular can be overpowered by the big hitters.
The location is a factor too, with high winds typically a factor at this desert-based, Links-style assignment.
Generally, Scottsdale is an easy-ish course though, with four rounds of 60 compiled here in the past and a winning mark of -28 achieved on more than one occasion. The course underwent a refurb in 2014 with more than 100 yards added, new green complexes and bunkers added, and since then the winning scores have dipped to -15, 14 and -17.
The obvious highlight are the last four holes, which have proven to be a graveyard for some down the years and a chance of redemption for others:
The fifteenth is a reachable Par 5 that offers genuine risk and reward. Water flanks the left-hand side, but straight hitting affords players the chance to make eagle, with 34% of attempts at the hole last year resulting in birdie and 85% at par or better.
A stunning hole with mountain ranges in the background, the sixteenth is that monumental stadium setting with 20,000 punters seated all around the hole. As a golf test goes it’s a fairly standard Par 3, but the players must hold their nerve with a cast of thousands looking on.
The Par 4 seventeenth played under par last year and that’s because it’s driveable at a straight 332 yards. There’s water left, but those challenging for the title have an opportunity to at least try for eagle. Last year there were almost as many birdies (44%) as pars (47%) made, although beware: it was here that the dreams of Rickie Fowler sunk in the lake in 2016 as did Martin Laird’s 12 months earlier.
Play it safe down the right, cut off the corner and flirt with the water left….the Par 4 eighteenth is the quintessential risk-and-reward hole. There were more bogeys made here than birdies last year, which offers an insight into its complexity.
A general view of the 16th hole as Kevin Na plays his tee shot during…
A general view of the 16th hole as Kevin Na plays his tee shot during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 5, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Weather Forecast for Scottsdale, AZ
You kinda know the drill with the weather in Arizona at the best of times, and this week appears to be no exception.
It’s going to be hot, by all accounts, at an average of 80 degrees, with sporadic clouds keeping the players sheltered from the blazing sun.
One of the key anomalies this week is that the wind appears to be fairly benign, with top speeds of just 6 mph forecast. This is subject to change of course, but if the breeze is minimal then we would expect the winning score to be -16 or lower.
Last Year’s Results from the Waste Management Phoenix Open
It looked for all the money like we were going to see a ‘surprise’ winner of the Phoenix Open last year, with Byeong Hun An (-16) and Martin Laird (-15) clear of the pack at -12.
But the pressure of playing in the final group clearly put the pair off their stride, and they could only muster rounds of 73 to put paid to their chances of lifting the trophy.
Instead it was down to Hideki Matsuyama and Webb Simpson, courtesy of final rounds of 66 and 64 respectively, who would contest a playoff at a winning mark of -17.
And it was left to the defending champion Matsuyama to claim brilliant back-to-back wins at ‘golf’s biggest party’, making birdie at the fourth extra hole to successfully retain his title.
Louis Oosthuizen, Rickie Fowler and JJ Spaun rounded out the top-five.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for the Waste Management Phoenix Open this Week
This is an event that feels ‘big time’: a quality field, at a super-fun course, with plenty of prize money at stake. That isn’t necessarily reflected in the slate this week, with less cash up for grabs than at the Farmers, but even so there’s an eclectic range of contests available on DraftKings and elsewhere.
- PGA $350k Dogleg: There’s a comfy $50k to the winner in this $33 entry contest, with the top-100 home pocketing a minimum of $100.
- PGA $175k Birdie: If you’re at the lower end of the bankroll spectrum, this $3 entry contest still offers plenty of reward: $10k to the winner, with the first 1000 teams home trousering their owner at least $100.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for the Waste Management Phoenix Open
For a number of years, the format at Scottsdale was simple: boom it miles off the tee and the putt well.
But that has changed somewhat in recent years – perhaps as a result of the 2014 course alterations – and now hitting plenty of greens is the key.
Matsuyama ranked first for GIR in 2016 and followed that up by ranking first for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and second for SG: Approach last year. He was absolutely nowhere in the field for SG: Putting, and indeed only four of the top-10 for that metric would actually finish inside the top-10 of the leaderboard.
So it seems that dialing in the approach play and making regulation putts on the Bermuda is key this week.
This is a given, of course, but keep an eye out for those in form. Matsuyama’s formline heading to Scottsdale 12 months ago read 2-1-1-2 after a fine time in the Asian Swing wraparound events, while Oosthuizen and Spaun had recorded top-10s just prior to the trip.
Playing the Par 4s well has typically been key at Scottsdale, and while Matsuyama made hay on the Par 5s last year his fellow play-off combatant, Webb Simpson, played the regulation holes in -8, so clearly doing the basics well here is essential.
Whether incidental or not, former Scottsdale winners Brooks Koepka, Matsuyama and JB Holmes finished first, T2 and twelfth at last year’s US Open at Erin Hills, while Brendan Steele – he of four top-20 finishes at Scottsdale in five trips – was T13. That may or may not be a useful ally. The WGC Bridgestone at Firestone last year was won by Matsuyama with top-20s for Koepka, Fowler and perennial Scottsdale performers Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson and Daniel Berger.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win the Waste Management Phoenix Open
You must be a Premium Member to view our exclusive fantasy golf picks.
Already a member? Sign in Here.
Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2017-2018)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
Remember to visit our private Facebook group to discuss this week’s picks for the Waste Management Phoenix Open with other Premium Members.
Cover Photo via Instagram