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Spieth the pick with Day sidelined for Phoenix

Thu, Feb 2, 1:25pm by Staff Writer

With top-ranked Jason Day taking more time to recuperate after a disappointing weekend, sixth-ranked Jordan Spieth is the betting favourite for this week’s Phoenix Open.

Day failed to make the cut at Torrey Pines after returning from a two-week training break and an end of last season marred by a back problem.

Also absent from the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course are No.2 Rory McIlroy, is still nursing an injury, No.3 Dustin Johnson, who is taking a week off, and the returning Tiger Woods, who is playing in Dubai.

In the absence of the big three, William Hill is paying $9 for Spieth to win on Sunday, ahead of defending champion Hideki Matsuyama on $11 and Justin Thomas on $13.

Day carded rounds of 73-74 at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open to finish at three over and three outside the even-par cutline, along with Woods.

The absence of the bigger names also leaves the door open for another big result from last week’s winner Jon Rahm.

The Spaniard is a former top-ranked amateur and is on $19, ahead of more familiar names like Bubba Watson at $23, 2015 winner Brooks Koepka and 2013 champion Phil Mickelson on $29 and Rickie Fowler at $34.

Matsuyama was a surprise winner at Scottsdale last year when Fowler hit a drive in the water late in the day on the final day. His victory topped his three previous top-five finishes on the course.

“I’m not really sure whether it’s the course, but I do know that the tremendous galleries that we have here just invigorates me and gets me going,” Matsuyama told reporters. “I love playing here.”

The best of the Australians this week is Marc Leishman, who was tied for 20th after a bright start last week and is paying $71 to do better this week.

Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones and Rod Pampling are all on $201 for the win, with Greg Chalmers at $301, Steven Bowditch at $401 and Craig Hocknull paying $501.

Baddeley has made Scottsdale his home and makes his 15th appearance at the Phoenix Open.

His best finish was a 2007 win in which he made three birdies on his final four holes edge Jeff Quinney.

The challenging TPC Scottsdale course is also one of the best attended, with the 16th hole earning legendary status on the PGA Tour.

Nicknamed “The Coliseum,” the short par 3 is surrounded by a 20,000 seat grandstand which is usually packed with students from Arizona State University.

The chill, early morning desert conditions can play a part in the tournament, with the start delayed by frost on several occasions. This year’s forecast is for fine and clear weather, with little chance of morning frost.

The Phoenix Open tees off Friday at 12.30 am AEST.

Suggested Bet: Back Jordan Spieth at $9 each=way

Phoenix Open Odds

Jordan Spieth $9

Hideki Matsuyama $11

Justin Thomas $13

Jon Rahm $19

Bubba Watson $23

Brooks Koepka $29

Phil Mickelson $29

Ryan Moore $29

Rickie Fowler $34

Patrick Reed $34

Tony Finau $41

Brendan Steele $41

J B Holmes $41

Harris English $41

Gary Woodland $41

Emiliano Grillo $51

Keegan Bradley $51

Russell Knox $51

Zach Johnson $51

Pat Perez $51

Matt Kuchar $51

Others $71 or longer


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