That's what I'm talking about! We are only a few tournaments into the calendar year, but already I have nailed a winner as American Brandt Snedeker took last week's PGA Tour Famers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines outside San Diego.
The tournament stretched to a Monday finish because of some weather delays, but Snedeker never had to take a shot on Monday -- he was watching from his hotel -- following his final-round 69 on Sunday. Snedeker started Monday one shot behind leader Jimmy Walker, who had to play eight holes. Snedeker caught a huge break because there were still high winds on Monday. Thus Snedeker, who finished about 15 minutes before play was halted on Sunday, was the only player to shoot under par in the final round. The field averaged a whopping 77.9 on the lengthy Torrey Pines track, the highest fourth-round average in a non-major in 33 years. Snedeker only made the cut on the number as well. He started Sunday in 27th and six shots back.
It was Snedeker's eighth career PGA Tour win and third straight Top-3 finish on Tour this season. He was T3 at the Hyundai and lost in a playoff the next week at the Sony. In Snedeker's final two starts of 2015, he missed the cut. K.J. Choi, who was tied for the lead entering the final round with Scott Brown, finished one shot back of Snedeker after a final-round 76. Walker was T4 following his 77.
Snedeker was priced at +1600 at Bovada to win last week, and I also got him at +135 on a Top 10 and -120 head-to-head over Dustin Johnson. I did have Jason Day for a Top 10 as well but he surprisingly missed the cut. So did three-time tournament winner Phil Mickelson. So I'm glad Snedeker did win because otherwise I didn't have a great tournament.
This week, the Tour takes a detour out of California with its annual Super Bowl weekend at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale -- it's the biggest party on Tour every year. Specifically the rowdy par-3 16th. It's the 30th year this event has been held at TPC Scottsdale. One guy you won't see this week or until this summer is Jim Furyk, who is out three months due to wrist surgery. Furyk hasn't played since the FedEx Cup playoffs and will miss the Masters. It's a strong field, though, even though Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Day aren't playing. Seven winners on Tour this season are playing; no one has won twice yet.
Last year, Brooks Koepka won his first PGA Tour event at 15 under, beating out Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson and Ryan Palmer by a shot. Koepka was down three on Sunday but shot a 66. Matsuyama was the last guy with a chance to force a playoff but missed an 18-footer on the 72nd hole. You may remember more from last year that Tiger Woods shot an 82 in one round and missed the cut by 12 shots.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Waste Management Phoenix Open Favorites
Watson is the +1100 favorite at Bovada. He hasn't played on the PGA Tour since a 10th at the year-opening Hyundai. Watson had that second here last year and was runner-up the year before as well. He also had a fifth in 2012.
Snedeker is +1400 to go back-to-back with Rickie Fowler. Hard to argue against Snedeker right now, but I'll never pick a guy to win consecutive tournaments. He was 10th here last year and a runner-up in 2013. Fowler won a couple of weeks ago in Abu Dhabi but was clearly jetlagged last week at Torrey Pines and missed the cut. He was 46th here last year and missed the cut the previous two years.
Koepka is +1600 followed by J.B. Holmes and Mickelson (both +2000). Koepka was third in Hawaii in his last start. Holmes won here in 2006 & '08. He was T6 last week. Lefty has won here three times, last in 2013.
PGA Tour Picks: Waste Management Phoenix Open Betting Predictions
For a Top 10, I like Watson (+110), Matsuyama (+225) and Palmer (+325). Head-to-head, go with Kevin Na (-110) over Jason Dufner (-120), Koepka (-110) over Fowler (-120), Palmer (-120 over Zach Johnson (-110), Matsuyama (-125) over Kevin Kisner (-105), and Holmes (-120) over Mickelson (-110) -- Lefty, knowing him, probably has a chance to earn more money on Sunday on the Super Bowl result than realistically from this tournament.
This event has had a different winner in each of the last nine years, and I believe that continues. I'd certainly say Watson is overdue a win after those back-to-back runner-ups here. He'll be a fan favorite with Mickelson. But I'm going with Matsuyama. It might actually be a good thing he missed the cut last week and got out of that weather. He has played this event twice and was a co-runner-up last year and fourth in 2014.
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