WM Phoenix Open: Can market-leader Scheffler three-peat in Arizona

By Bryan Nicholson

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7 February 2024

Wyndham Clark backdoored an unexpected win in the second Signature Event of the year at Pebble Beach last week. Clark shot a third round 60 and the tournament was then cancelled after 54 holes due to inclement weather conditions. Wyndham, 30.0, took home the winners’ cheque of $3.6 million dollars and 700 FedEx Cup points to propel him up the rankings and continue his rise in the game.

We now have a one-week gap before the next Signature Event and players will be trying to force their way into the Genesis via the Aon Swing 5 and top 30 in the OWGR. There’s a decent field for the WM Phoenix Open where market leader Scottie Scheffler, 6.2, is looking to do the three-peat in Arizona. 

The Course 

TPC Scottsdale is a par 71, playing 7,261 yards and the WM Phoenix Open is known as the Greatest Show on Grass. We saw two holes in one in 2022 on the 16th hole and Rickie Fowler aced the seventh hole in 2023. The order of the day here at TPC Scottsdale is long straight driving and high proximity with the short irons. The back nine is the scoring 9 and there’s a risk/reward theme throughout the track. Good short game skills and shot making ability are needed when conditions play faster and firmer. White marble bunkering protects the surfaces equipped with some run-off areas. TPC Scottsdale plays at altitude and the par fives are a premium.

The Contenders

Cameron Young, 50.0, or t10, 5.5, fits the profile here with his total driving ability. Young has an average ranking of seventh in strokes gained off the tee over his two full years on the PGA Tour. He hits it high from approaches and has started this season on form. The American has two finishes of 26th and 64th in Scottsdale while getting to know the track.

Rickie Fowler, 80.0, or t10, 7.2, loves TPC Scottsdale. He was a regular fixture here at the Stadium course before he went missing for a few years but notched another top 10 last year on his return to form. That included his hole in one antics. From 2016-19, Rickie went 2-4-11-1 which tells you all you need to know about his course fit for TPC Scottsdale which favours the right to left shot shape. 36th in total driving and seventh in approach is a good concoction for success at the WM Phoenix Open.

Kevin Yu, 100.0, or t10, 8.6, has been prominent on the radar so far in 2024 and what’s more, he’s an ASU grad living near TPC Scottsdale. Yu’s aim is to represent Taiwan at the Olympics this year. Kevin will be looking to qualify for the Genesis and currently ranks fourth on the Aon Swing 5 list with his last three finishes of 3-6-58. The power hitter ranked sixth in strokes gained off the tee last year and excels in the pitching department, ranking 10/10 in my model from 100 yards and in.

Big-hitting Jake Knapp, 250.0, or t10, 16.0, is ranked sixth in the Aon Swing 5 by just 48 points. Knapp was third in the Farmers Insurance Open where he sat seventh in strokes gained off the tee and 12th in approach. He finished No. 13 on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List where he recorded a myriad of top 10s and only missed two cuts. Again, his course fit for TPC Scottsdale should be ideal.

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