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Phoenix Open: Preview, Props, Best Bets

The annual party is on at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the 15th stop on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup season schedule.

The event begins Thursday at TPC Scottsdale, and our golf experts provide a tournament preview along with their favorite prop picks and best bets to win this week.

WM PHOENIX OPEN Location: Scottsdale, Ariz., Feb. 9-12 Courses: TPC Scottsdale – Stadium Course (Par 71, 7,261 yards) Purse: $20 Million (Winner: $3.6M) Defending Champion: Scottie Scheffler FedEx Cup leader: Jon Rahm

HOW TO FOLLOW TV: Thursday-Friday, 3:30-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday, 1-3 p.m. (GC); 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (GC); 3-6 p.m. (CBS) Streaming on ESPN+: Thursday-Friday: 9:15 a.m.-7:30 p.m. ET; Saturday, 12-6:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m-6 p.m. Twitter: @WMPhoenixOpen

PROP PICKS –Rory McIlroy to Shoot 66 or Lower Round 1 (+110 at BetMGM): McIlroy is oozing confidence, and the No. 1-ranked player said he feels like the best player in the world with his game in the best all around shape it has ever been. He has only played the Phoenix Open once, posting one sub-67 round in finishing T13 two years ago, and there were only 11 opening rounds of 66 or better last year. McIlroy has two opening rounds of 66 in his past three starts – both resulting in wins.

–Tom Hoge to Beat Jordan Spieth (+105 at DraftKings): This is a tournament matchup, and Spieth (-130) has been unable to put four solid rounds together of late. After a solid T13 to open the year on Maui, Spieth was tied for the lead following the first round of the Sony Open, only to miss the cut with a 75 in Round 2. He was again in contention at the midway point at Pebble Beach, but had to scramble to make the 54-hole cut on the number due to a third-round 75 and closed with a 73. Hoge failed to break 70 last week but still beat Spieth by three shots.

–Taylor Montgomery to Win Round 1 3-Ball (+140 at PointsBet): Keith Mitchell is +150 and coming off a T4 at Pebble Beach. He also finished T10 here last year, but is coming off a long, weather-delayed event that finished Monday. Sam Ryder (+250) is a streaky player who has sandwiched a pair of top-10s around three missed cuts in his past five starts. Meanwhile, Montgomery has eight top-10s through 10 starts of his rookie season, and has averaged an opening-round 65 in his first three starts of 2023.

2023 Prop Picks Record: 6-6-1

BEST BETS –Jon Rahm (+750 at BetMGM) starred at nearby Arizona State and has four wins among eight consecutive top-10s worldwide. He opened the week at +800 and has seen his odds shorten slightly while being backed by 7.0 percent of the money.

–Rory McIlroy (+800) is making his first PGA Tour start of 2023. He is coming off a victory in Dubai and has won three of his past seven worldwide starts. However, McIlroy has drawn modest action with only 5.2 percent of the total bets and 5.0 percent of the money this week.

–Scottie Scheffler (+1200) and Xander Schauffele (+1600) are tied for the second-lowest scoring marking among any player with at least 10 rounds since the event moved to TPC Scottsdale in 1987. Scheffler is the defending champion, while Schauffele has finished T2 and T3 the past two years. It stands to reason that Schauffele is the sportsbook’s second biggest liability as he leads the field with 7.2 percent of the total bets and 11.9 percent of the money, although Scheffler has drawn only 4.3 and 3.4 percent, respectively.

–Collin Morikawa (+1800) returns to the event for the first time since 2000 as BetMGM’s biggest liability with 7.0 percent of the tickets and 10.7 percent of the money backing him, behind only Schauffele.

–Justin Thomas (+2000) has three top-10s in the past four WM Phoenix Opens. He is third at BetMGM with 6.6 and 8.7 percent of the action, respectively.

–Patrick Cantlay (+2000) lost in a playoff to Scheffler in his event debut last year, but has been a modest draw with 2.5 percent of the bets and just 1.7 percent of the money backing him.

–Max Homa (+2200), one of several Scottsdale residents in the field, won his most recent start at the Farmers Insurance Open.

–Hideki Matsuyama (+2800) has a pair of wins among five career top-10s at TPC Scottsdale. He is the most recent player to repeat a title at the Phoenix Open and is coming off a T9 at Torrey Pines.

–Tom Kim (+2800) is the third biggest liability this week. The rising 19-year-old star has drawn 7.3 percent of the total money this week.

NOTES –The $3.6 million winner’s share matches last year’s Players Championship for the largest in PGA Tour history. –The 134-player field features 22 of the top 25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. –The 6 p.m. scheduled end to the broadcast is set to accommodate the Super Bowl in nearby Glendale, with the event swapping with last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to keep its traditional Super Bowl Sunday spot. –McIlroy won his lone start of the fall swing at the 2022 CJ Cup, following his victory at the Tour Championship. He’s seeking to become the first player to win three consecutive starts on tour since Dustin Johnson in 2016-17. –Rickie Fowler’s most recent win came at the 2019 WM Phoenix Open, and he has three other top-fives in six previous starts. –Montgomery, who is No. 8 in the FedEx Cup standings, is in the field on a sponsors exemption, as is fellow rookie Davis Thompson (No. 22). –TPC Scottsdale was opened in 1986 and designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf. The latter passed away last August. –Field Level Media


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