Hunting for outsider value was a fruitless activity last week as Bryson Dechambeau and Justin Rose landed the spoils. With a stack of elite characters heading the market on both of this week's European and PGA Tour events, a similar scenario may well prevail.
That is certainly my instinct about the new Saudi International - previewed here by Steve Rawlings - although the boys have made a valiant attempt at finding a big-priced winner for our regular each-way column.
I'd prefer to focus on the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The rollcall of recent winners may seem pretty obvious but there is more to this unique event. I've long felt it was one of the better trading opportunities of the year and this column has enjoyed some success here.
As Steve explains in his comprehensive preview, there is a long history of players coming from off the pace. That is the nature of Scottsdale's risk/reward set-up - it is made for leaderboard fluctuation. It isn't asking as much as usual for an outsider to shorten up, even if only temporarily before falling back.
Piercy to thrive in the desert again
Back Scott Piercy 1u each-way @ 100/1 (1/5 odds, seven places)
Early in his career, boasting far inferior credentials than today, Scott Piercy really excelled at this course. In six visits between 2006 and 2014, he registered a quintet of top-15 finishes, including third in 2013. Twice previously, he was second going into the final round.
This was before the course changes and, it must be said, he's done nothing since. There's no obvious explanation as to why though and this isn't a course where any type seems particularly disadvantaged.
Born in Vegas, Piercy has a great record in the desert, once winning the Reno-Tahoe, and was in excellent form before Christmas, closing 2018 with a trio of top-tens. Ranking 14th for strokes gained approach last term also bodes very well for this challenge.
Never write off Holmes around here
Back J.B. Holmes 2u @ 200.0199/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 15.014/1
Place order to lay 25u @ 6.05/1
I'm happy to overlook this course specialist's poor seasonal debut last week because 200.0199/1 is simply too big. Holmes has long been the ultimate in and out bomber, liable to run up a big score when driving erratically, as was the case for his second round 79.
J.B. twice won this event before the course changes and Scottsdale certainly suits his aggressive style. He's also performed well since the renovations, finishing sixth in 2016 and 24th in 2017. He finished top-three twice last summer and is just the type to suddenly return to the winners enclosure at a big price.
Multiple winner Moore a must-bet at inflated odds
Back Ryan Moore 2u @ 230.0229/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 20.019/1
Place order to lay 30u @ 6.05/1
Again, I reckon the market is over-reacting to Moore missing last week's cut. Ryan's record at Torrey Pines is poor and he may have arrived with low expectations, hoping to warm up ahead of this much better chance.
Five times a PGA Tour winner, Moore has finished top-17 six times here, including four of the last six renewals. The premium on quality iron play at Scottsdale suits him down to the ground and lack of power isn't ruinous around this layout. He's another with a fine desert record.
Finally a few words about alternatives. Both Ryan Palmer and Brendan Steele have cracking Scottsdale records and are available around 120.0119/1. I prefer the former, who has twice been runner-up here and played three good rounds last week.
Kevin Na 220.0219/1 used to have a brilliant record here. And Ollie Schneiderjans caught the eye at 350.0349/1 having left a great impression when third last year. He's totally without recent form, though.
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