No standout favourite at Phoenix Open

BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open | Preview | 02 Feb 2012

Scottsdale in Arizona is the next stop for the PGA Tour and more specifically the TPC Scottsdale where the Waste Management Phoenix Open will be played at the venue that has been its home since 1987.

Only two players form the world top ten are in this week’s field but despite that the tournament is sure to develop into a battle between what is generally considered a quality field, Webb Simpson and last week’s winner Brandt Snedeker perhaps the favourites although it is a tightly packed field in that regard.

Simpson finished 8th in this event last year, recovering from a slow start to record his first top ten in a year that would take him to a new level in the game. Simpson finished 3rd at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in one of only two starts to date in 2012 and so appears a good chance to continue his great run of consistency this week.

Snedeker tied with Simpson for 8th last year and following his perhaps unexpected victory last week he could again do well. Snedeker had finished 8th at the Humana Challenge the week before his win last week so he is in very good form and appears a chance to contend at least.

There will be a lot of interest in just how Kyle Stanley handles the disappointment of last week. Stanley will play this event for the first occasion and is a quality player but he would be less than human or perhaps superhuman if he is able to put his final hole disaster at Torrey Pines behind him quickly. There will be many hoping he does just that and bounces back.

Matt Kuchar has not played this event often but a 6th place finish three years ago suggests that it should hold no fears for him. At his first start for the season two weeks ago in Palm Springs he finished a respectable 22nd and should improve quickly with that tournament under his belt.

Rickie Fowler finished second in this event in 2010 and played nicely last week at Torrey Pines in his first tournament of the year. Fowler also finished runner-up at the Frys.com event in Scottsdale in 2010 in just his second PGA Tour event as a professional so it would seem he enjoys performing in this region.

Although he has not won since his PGA Championship victory Keegan Bradley has played well enough and although this is his first time to the event he could do well. He has been inside the top 25 in each of his three starts this year.

Mark Wilson is the defending champion and his recent win at the Humana Challenge is an indication that he could successfully defend this week.

John Rollins might be one for longer odds this week. He finished third at Torrey Pines last week and 6th at the Sony two weeks earlier. Rollins has not missed a cut in nine starts in the event and finished runner-up in 2007. With the benefit of last week’s finish he might again contend.

Marc Leishman, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones, Mathew Goggin, Greg Chalmers, Robert Allenby, Nick O’Hern, Rod Pampling, Jarrod Lyle and New Zealander Danny Lee are the Australasians in the field.

Baddeley is a former winner and has played well enough in his only two starts PGA Tour starts this season.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.


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