Phoenix Open In-Play Tips – Hot Horsey makes the early running

20:40 – February 5, 2021

The threat of lightening caused a two-hour suspension of play at the Saudi International today and they’ll be back in the morning to finish off the second round with some players having as many as eight holes to play.

New-Zealander, Ryan Fox, who bogeyed the final hole of his second round, holds the clubhouse lead on -10 but Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher is alongside him with still six to play.

Bryson DeChambeau, who was at the head of the market after an opening five-under-pat 65, struggled today and he’s currently on +1 for the day and in a tie for 24th but it was a different story for fellow American and world number one, Dustin Johnson, who cruised through the field with consummate ease.

With four holes left to play of his second round, DJ trails by only two strokes and he understandably heads the market.

I’m going to leave this one alone and I’ll try and return in the morning with a snapshot of the halfway stage, It’s a congested leaderboard and a bit of a confusing picture given we’ve only got two renewals to look back on but it’s perhaps worth remembering that both previous winners, DJ and Graeme McDowell, were in front at halfway.

The second round of the Phoenix Open is well underway and 53-year-old Ryder Cup captain, Steve Stricker is tied for the lead with Keegan Bradley but Dave Tindall’s 200/1 fancy, Matthew NeSmith, who led after round one, has only just started his second round and he trails by just two.

I’ll be back in the morning with a more detailed look at the halfway stage.

15:30 – February 4, 2021

The first round of the Saudi International has ended and with a differential between the AM and PM starters of 2.4 strokes, the early leaderboard is dominated by those that played this morning.

The coverage on Sky has now finished and they’ve moved on to the early Featured Groups at this week’s PGA Tour event – the Phoenix Open – which I’ve previewed here and it’s a good job because I’m fed up chuntering to myself.

The team on Sky generally do a really good job but it infuriates me how they just keep saying the draw will even itself out, or that the stagger will unwind, without looking at the forecast. It’s so misleading.

According to the Windfinder forecast, which I find extremely accurate, tomorrow’s morning starters are NOT going to enjoy the same conditions that today’s early starters did.

As highlighted in the Find Me a 100 Winner column, the forecast always suggested an advantage to those drawn AM-PM and unless the forecast is wrong, that’s how it’s going to pan out.

As expected, the wind picked up steadily throughout the afternoon today but it looks very consistent tomorrow and if anything, it’s going to blow harder in the morning than it is in the afternoon.

Despite the draw, and probably in error, I threw a few pounds at Christiaan Bezuidenhout as he finished up his round today at 50.049/1, in the hope he’d birdie at least one of his last two holes – the short par four 17th and the par five 18th – but unfortunately he didn’t and when he returns to the course in the morning he’ll have seven strokes to find on the early leader, David Horsey.

The 35-year-old Englishman threatened to break 60 this morning after a hot run on the back nine which saw him make seven birdies in eight holes but he could only par the 18th.

A stroke behind Horsey on -8 is Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and one of my pre-event picks, Bernd Wiesberger, is alone in third on -6 with Bryson DeChambeau lurking one further shot back in the group of six on -5.

Dustin Johnson, who finished first and second in the first two editions, ended his day on -3, alongside my two Find Me a 100 Winner picks, Victor Perez and Lee Westwood, but he played better than his score suggests and he’d have been much closer to Horsey if the putter had behaved.

Saudi International Pre-Event Selections:
Matt Wallace @ 80.079/1
Bernd Wiesberger @ 85.084/1

In-Play Pick:
Christiaan Bezuidenhout @ 50.049/1

Phoenix Open Pre-Event Selections:
Justin Thomas @ 11.5
Webb Simpson @ 20.019/1

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:

Saudi International
Back Victor Perez 1 Β½ u @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 8.07/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back Victor Perez 1 u First Round Leader @ 80.079/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 2.01/1
Back Lee Westwood 1 Β½ u @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 8.07/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

Phoenix Open
Back Brendan Steele 1 Β½ u @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 8.07/1 & 8u @ 2.01/1
Back Keith Mitchel Β½ u @ 500.0499/1
Back Keith Mitchel 1u each-way @ 250/1 (Sportsbook)
Place order to lay 10u 2.01/1

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