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BlogWho will win at Phoenix on Sunday

Waste Management Phoenix Open

January 30 – February 2, 2014

TPC of Scottsdale

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: $6.2 Million

with $1,116,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Phil Mickelson

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know for Sunday’s final round in Phoenix:

So who is leading?

  • First and second round leader Bubba Watson was able to muster up a round of 68 and goes into the final round with a two shot lead over Kevin Stadler and three over Ryan Moore, Harris English and Hideki Matsuyama.  Watson, who hasn’t won in almost 22 months since his Masters victory.  This will be the first time Watson has gone into the final round with the lead, the last was back in June when he co-led with Graham Delaet and Charley Hoffman.  He shot a final round 70 and finished 4th, two shots back.  In that event he had the lead going into the 16th hole were he hit a poor tee shot on the par 3 into the water, made triple bogey which placed him out of the running.

How is Watson as a front-runner?

  • Watson has a shaky record when leading or co-leading going into the final round.  Along with the Travelers he has gone into the final round six times with the lead and only came through once, at the 2011 Zurich Classic.  Watson shot a final round 69, the only time he has broken par with the lead.  As you can see in this link, he shot a final round 70 at the 2013 Travelers to finish 4th, final round 74 to finish 2nd at the 2012 WGC-Cadillac, 74 at the 2011 Deutsche Bank, 72 at the 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational and 72 at the 2007 Shell Houston Open.  Now if there is a ray of good news, last year in the final round of the WM Phoenix Open he shot 64 to finish 15th.  In seven previous Phoenix Opens he has two top-ten finishes, the best in 2012 when he finished T5th.

Anyone make a big move in the third round?

  • The biggest move was from Brendan Steele, who started the day T48th, his third round 62 was his career best round and moved him into a T6th, four shots back of Watson.
  • Some other great rounds were shot by Ryan Moore, who had a bogey free 64 as he played the final nine in six under.  2010 champion Hunter Mahan shot 65, his round was impressive for it’s roller-coaster feel as he had ten birdies, two bogeys, a double bogey and only five pars

So what about Kevin Stadler?

  • His third round 67 was impressive because he finished the round making birdie on five of his last six holes.  For the week he has played the final six holes in ten under, something to look at on Sunday.

Anybody stand out statistically supreme?

  • It’s remarkable but nobody stands out.  Yes Watson leads in driving distance with a 337.4 average, but he is T19th in fairways hit, T16th in greens hit and 9th in strokes gained putting.  The one thing that does stand out is his approach shot proximity to the hole, he averaged 28 feet, 11 inches to lead.  Of the others close to the lead nothing else stands out.

So our we going to have another unusual winner?

  • Just look at 2014, other than Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Ryan Moore, Harris English and Zach Johnson the winners have been obscure including the last three Jimmy Walker at Sony, Partick Reed at Humana and Scott Stallings at Farmers.  Now the PGA Tour seems to preach parody and with the leaderboard the way it is we can see this continue.  Watch for players like Harris English, Hideki Matsuyama, Brendan Steele, Pat Perez, Greg Chalmers or even Graham DeLaet come through and win.

Below is a list of the top-18 players on the leader board going to 8 under showing how they have done of late to see who has played the best:

Of the top-18 on the leaderboard, who’s playing the best:

Player Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of C Nedbank Golf OHL Classic Mayakoba McGladrey Classic WGC-HSBC Champions
Patrick Reed
(154.67 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Harris English
(148 pts)
DNP DNP T33
(17)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP Win
(44)
T27
(7.67)
DNP
Pat Perez
(145.33 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
T48
(0.67)
DNP
Graham Delaet
(120 pts)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
Matt Every
(93.33 pts)
DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
T7
(18.33)
DNP
Ryan Moore
(54.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 10
(26.67)
T7
(18.33)
T23
(9)
DNP T50
(0.33)
Matt Jones
(50.33 pts)
T43
(7)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP DNP
Bubba Watson
(43.67 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
Chris Stroud
(36.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(32.33 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
Kevin Stadler
(26 pts)
DNP DNP T78
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
Brendan Steele
(23.33 pts)
T28
(22)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP
Jason Kokrak
(23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(13.33)
DNP
Morgan Hoffmann
(21 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Nick Watney
(6.33 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot going into Waste Management Phoenix Open

Player Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of C Nedbank Golf OHL Classic Mayakoba McGladrey Classic WGC-HSBC Champions
Ricky Barnes
(-5.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Hunter Mahan
(3 pts)
T47
(3)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Greg Chalmers
(3.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
T10
(13.33)
DNP
Nick Watney
(6.33 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
Morgan Hoffmann
(21 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

  • Weather will not play a factor as it will again be picture perfect in Phoenix.
  • Many will be rooting for Bubba but the big question will be if he can keep his emotions in the final round.  In the past he hasn’t been able and if you look at the events he has won, Watson seems to be better suited to come from behind in the final round.  Watson will also have some added pressure of not being in contention much over the last year.  On the other end you will have to think that it’s his time to do the right thing and play well on Sunday, I question that.  One positive for him, on Saturday Watson extended his streak of consecutive rounds at TPC Scottsdale at even par or better to 29. His worst score is even-par 71, set on three occasions and most recently in the third round in 2013.  Still he could keep this streak alive and still lose the tournament.
  • As for Kevin Stadler, he has only won once, that coming in the 2006 Johnnie Walker Classic on the European Tour.  Stadler has been runner-up twice on the PGA Tour but in looking at Stadler’s stats when he enters the final round within five of the lead it’s not very impressive.  In 2014 he has been close twice, but a final round 74 in Mayakoba drove him into a T12th and a final round 71 at the McGladrey led to a T10th finish.  Sorry but I can see him doing it again.
  • I can easily see the winner coming from the group at 12 under, all three Ryan Moore, Harris English and Hideki Matsuyama has won in the last three months.  Matsuyama is not a household name on the PGA Tour but of all the Asian players I think he will be the best and wouldn’t surprise me if he wins a major one day.
  • There is seven players within four shots of Watson, any of them could shot 65 and win.  One person that will be aware of that is Harris English, he shot 65 in the final round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and won the event.  I can see this scenario, in the last eight Phoenix Opens, five of the winners have shot a final round of 67 or lower, the best was Aaron Baddeley who shot 64 in his 2007 victory.

Who should win at Phoenix on Sunday

Best Bets:

Harris English

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T57 T15

Goes into the final round 3 shots back -Think he has a 65 in him, he did it in his victory in Mexico in November. Also like that he is 8 under on the three par 5s and is a cool customer,

Hideki Matsuyama

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Goes into the final round 3 shots back -This kid has a great future, look for him to be in the running, he has performed really well in Japan under pressure, don’t be surprise with him winning.

Ryan Moore

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
4 78 T73 T14 T6 CUT CUT T40

Goes into the final round 3 shots back – He is 34 under in his last seven rounds at TPC Scottsdale. In a good frame of mind, knows how to win in the desert with his Las Vegas victory in 2012, also won back in October in Asia.

Best of the rest:

Bubba Watson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
15 T5 T29 T36 T25 CUT T8

Leader by 2 shots – It’s his to win or lose, his record isn’t very good in the lead, think it’s going to be a nervy Saturday night and Sunday morning for him, sorry.

Hunter Mahan

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T16 T29 Win T35 CUT T44 T9

Goes into the final round 4 shots back -Watch him, yes he is four shots back but he can shot another 65 which will get him close.

Brendan Steele

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T6 T5 T53

Goes into the final round 4 shots back – May not win but he will be looking for a top-three which would get him into the top-100 of the world rankings.

Long shots that could come through:

Kevin Stadler

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T11 T70 CUT T70 WD

Goes into the final round 2 shots back – Don’t see him winning, but he will be looking for a top-three finish which will improve on his 127th world ranking.

Pat Perez

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
DQ T19 T22 T24 T48 T43 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT

Goes into the final round 5 shots back – Playing well, if he could shot 65 could be close. That kind of round is in his wheel-house, he did it on Thursday.

Graham DeLaet

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T55 CUT

Goes into the final round 6 shots back -Has been knocking on the door of some good finishes, can see him quietly shooting 64 on Sunday.

Worst Bets:

Matt Jones

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T40 CUT CUT CUT

Goes into the final round 4 shots back – Started his decline with six bogeys on Saturday, can’t see him bouncing back.