Sam Burns watches his tee shot on the first hole of the South Course during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
- The Waste Management Phoenix Open tees off Thursday, February 4th from TPC Scottsdale
- Jon Rahm is the favorite to be the first-round leader over Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele
- See the best bets and odds to grab the first-round lead plus tournament matchup picks in the article below
The normally boisterous atmosphere of the Waste Management Phoenix Open will be considerably more subdued this year due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting just 5,000 fans onto the premises. That being said, TPC Scottsdale should still provide sports fans a great appetizer on Super Bowl weekend.
Five of the top ten players in the world are teeing it up, including Jon Rahm, who is the favorite to win over Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Webb Simpson. Rahm is also the favorite to grab the lead after 18 holes, but there’s plenty of other golfers with intriguing odds.
In this article, we’ll explore which players have the best chance of being the leader after day one, plus head-to-head tournament matchups.
2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open First Round Leader Odds
All odds taken Feb. 2 at FanDuel
The forecast is sunny throughout the day, with temperatures in the low 50’s in the morning reaching 70 degrees in the afternoon. The morning wave will face nearly no wind, with highest being three miles per hour which reaches up to nine miles per hour for the afternoon golfers.
A benefit for those playing in the morning is the exact same as it is every week – less bumpy greens with fewer players chewing them up.
Ryan Palmer Riding a Hot Hand
Though he so often has come up short in winning titles on Sundays, Ryan Palmer has been something of a weekday warrior for a long while now. He’s also been playing some really solid golf, finishing in a tie for second at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open and a pair of fourth place results (along with a T-41) in his last four events.
In five of seven events during the 2020-21 campaign, Palmer has opened up with a round in the 60’s, with the exceptions being a 70 at the Sony Open and a 73 at the US Open. In that span, he’s fifth in first round scoring of those golfers teeing it up.
Of the 15 players that shot 66-or-better in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open, only two did so on the South Course:
Peter Malnati (66)
Ryan Palmer (66)
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) January 29, 2021
In the last 24 rounds on tour, Palmer has been as consistent as they come, ranking ninth in total strokes gained and twelfth in putting which will be key to make a lot of birdies.
Pick: Ryan Palmer (+4200)
Sam Burns Sporting Great Value
Sam Burns was right in the thick of things through 54 holes at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open before a closing 75 dropped him down the board. He’s found himself in contention early in events multiple times this season.
He’s twelfth in first round scoring average, of those competing. In twelve of his last 16 opening rounds, he’s shot in the 60’s, with three of the four times he didn’t being rounds of 70 or 71.
90s Quiz with Sam Burns#90sQuiz | @SamBurns66 pic.twitter.com/kflv8eaE3D
— GOLFTV (@GOLFTV) November 22, 2020
In the last 36 rounds on tour, Burns is fourth in strokes gained off tee and sixth in ball striking and at his current price, you’re getting him at fantastic value.
Pick: Sam Burns (+6500)
Super Bowl 55 Odds Tracker
Russell Henley vs Max Homa Tournament Matchup Odds
The last two years at this tournament, both these golfers split their tournament matchup head-to-head, where Henley was T-15 in 2019 compared to Homa’s T-26, but last year Homa had a strong showing resulting in a T-6 compared to Henley’s missed cut.
Comparatively, Homa has posted far better statistics than Henley, and he’s also one of our sleepers this week. Here are the strokes gained rankings of both players.
Last Two Waste Management Phoenix Open Strokes Gained Stats
|Golfer||Total||Tee-to-green||Ball Striking||Off-the-tee||Approach||Short Game||Around-the-green||Putting|
In their last three overall events, Homa has been the better golfer, going T-18, T-21, T-12. In that same span, Henley has a T-11 but also two missed cuts. Take the extra value on Homa.
Pick: Max Homa (+108)
Michael “Hound Dog” Harrison is well known in the sports industry as the resident statisitician for the Jay and Dan Show. He has worked at TSN for over 13 years, where he’s been featured on Sportscentre, That’s Hockey, That’s Hockey 2Nite, The Masters preview shows, and several more.