Maybe in order to whet the appetites of us devotees to Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour moves into the heart of Spring Training territory, hitting up TPC Scottsdale in the lovely northern burbs of Phoenix, the town the San Francisco Giants also claim as a home away from home.
TPC Scottsdale, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, logs in at 7,261 yards with three fives and four par threes. But don’t let that lull you into a course geared more to precision than power, for among the remaining 11 holes — all par fours — only one registers at less than 400 yards.
That tells me a solid 280-yard tee is a good prescription, but since most of the 132 pros going at it in the Valley of the Sun this week can do that, I am looking at accuracy from 125-150 yards out.
I am shying from back-to-back winner Hideki Matsuyama, not because I think he is off his game but more because winning any contest three consecutive times is just really hard. Add in that I overplayed my Brian Harman string one too many weeks at Torrey, so time to pull out of the slip stream.
Jordan Spieth ($11,400): Jordan returns after a bit of a break — no play since Hawaii — among the favorites having made all three cuts, averaging 96.3 points per week with a pair of top 10s. Add in Spieth is tied for first hitting the green between 125-150 yards, nailing 27 of 27 shots, and I am sold.
Tony Finau ($9100): Finau is more of a hunch bet based upon his strong showing at Torrey last week, only dropping to sixth with a one-over on Sunday. Still, Finau is six-for-six hitting cuts, boasts a pair of top 10s, and averages 82.8 points-per-week.
Zach Johnson ($7700): Zach has been hitting well, with a top 10 in Hawaii and five cuts in a row, averaging 86.3 points. Johnson ranks #7 at GIR from 125-150 hitting 35 of 40.
Chez Reavie ($7400): Starting a run of value picks is the under-the-radar Reavie, who has played all weekend seven consecutive tries this season, scoring 69.5 on average with 77.6 fantasy points generated. Reavie ranks #9 overall between 125-150 yards out, nailing the green on 30 of 38 tries.
Ryan Armour ($7400): Armour has fared nearly as well as Reavie, bringing a weekend of play home six of seven times while averaging 72.3 points to go with a win at Sanderson Farms. Armour ranks #12 at the 125-150 GIR with a fine 65 hits of 77 tries.
Blayne Barber ($6700): Barber ranks #10 at GIR, just behind Reavie, having bagged 41 of 48 shots in the category, though with just three cuts of five tries. Still, skill at the category makes Barber a solid value pick for the WM.
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