THE PGA Tour continues eastward this week to TPC Scottsdale, in Arizona, for the beautifully named Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The Stadium Course had a bit of work done to it in 2015, more than 100 yards has been added in length, greens were relaid and some bunkers added.
Despite all the changes look out for low scoring, John Petersen hitting a 63 last year and in the past there has been a few 60s. The par-three 16th is like an amphitheatre and the noise from the spectators is mindblowing.
The three-hole finish on this course can either make you or break you. In 2016 Rickie Fowler blew his chances finding water at the driveable par-four 17th by finding water and Martin Laird did the same in 2015. With the course at a high altitude big hitters are going to love the par fives and some of the par fours will be driveable.
I’m going to discount Rickie Fowler’s showing last week at Torrey Pines. It has never been a lucky place for the Californian, with three missed cuts and a T61 in his last four outings.
Meanwhile, at Scottsdale he seems quite at home with three top-four finishes to his name. His fourth last year was a decent result, coming off a run of missed cut and T36th. This season he is on a great run, ignoring last week, and will gain a lot of confidence from those results.
In 2016 he found the water at the 17th while looking to win and over his last eight rounds he is -29, with nine sub-70 rounds. As I said I’m going to discount last week’s showing and I suspect Rickie will too. In with a great chance.
- Driving Distance: 290.3 yards (145th), GIR: 72.78% (36th).
One man who has form here is Hideki Matsuyama. Over the last four years he has recorded T4-T2-1-1 at Scottsdale and loves the course and atmosphere. It’s been a slow start for the Japanese star this year with a T4 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T12 last week at Torrey Pines but this week will be different for Hideki.
With his results here over the last four years the Stadium can’t hold any fears for him. He is -59 in four years here with only one score over 70 and anything like that form will see him at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
- Driving Distance: 303.3 yards (26th), GIR: 69.01% (16th).