2021 Waste Management Open Sleeper Picks: Our Favorite Longshot Bets at TPC Scottsdale
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Kirk
The Waste Management Phoenix Open hasn’t been a place where longshots have had much success. In fact, four of the last five winners at TPC Scottsdale went off at +2500 or shorter. So what we’re trying to say is that we’re due for a sleeper to win this bad boy.
Here are our favorite longshot bets at TPC Scottsdale:
Brendan Steele (+12500)
For anyone who’s watched The Gimme and noticed the caddie bib which reads STEELE hanging on the wall over my left shoulder, sure, I suppose you can accuse me of a little bias here. But I do know a few things.
The first is that Steele is terrific off the tee and thrives on courses where he can hit a lot of drivers.
The second is that he’s a course horse, playing well at the same venues year after year – and his career results at this one include four top-six finishes in 10 starts.
And the third is that despite a strong history and finishes of 21st-4th so far this year, he remains criminally underpriced in all markets. I really like him in DFS, but have zero problem with top-10/20 props this week – and maybe a little sprinkle on an outright bet, as well.
Henrik Norlander (+12500)
Norlander is in great form, having finished T2 and T12 in his last two starts, and now heads to a course that should fit his game.
The Swede has never played at TPC Scottsdale before, but his tee-to-green game has been great so far in 2021, so we’ll just be looking for that putter to heat up a bit. Norlander tends to be pretty inconsistent on the greens, but Bermuda tends to be his best surface.
Chris Kirk (+12500)
There is no better story on TOUR right now than the comeback of Chris Kirk, who left the game for seven months to work through alcohol addiction and depression before returning to the Korn Ferry Tour to find his path back to the PGA TOUR.
Ultimately, it came down to him needed a top-three finish at the Sony Open in January in order to retain his card, which he did in resounding fashion with a tie for second. He’d follow it up the next week with a 16th-place finish at the AmEx and in both events he gained more than 4.5 strokes on the field with his irons.
Kirk will bring that sharp play, confidence, and undoubtedly a sense of relief with him to Phoenix where he finished 11th in 2018. I love the form, course fit, and the price for him to extend his improbable story with a win this week at the Waste Management.
Max Homa (+7000)
Max Homa loves playing golf on the West Coast. Last year, he had a nice run on the West Coast Swing with top-15 finishes consecutively at Torrey Pines, TPC Scottsdale, Pebble Beach and Riviera. Homa is once again playing his best golf this season at a similar time.
He had a 21st-place finish at PGA West a few weeks ago and followed that up with an 18th last week at Torrey Pines. More importantly, he did so while gaining 4.5 strokes on approach. The statistics show that Strokes Gained: Approach are more important at TPC Scottsdale than any other course on the PGA TOUR.
Homa looks to be a high upside play in Phoenix.
Corey Conners (+8000)
If Conners had the short game Denny McCarthy he would be a top-10 golfer in the world. I don’t think people truly grasp how good a ball-striker this man is. Over his past 48 rounds in this field Conners ranks eighth in SG: Tee-to-Green, seventh in SG: Off-the-Tee and 18th on approach. Those numbers are better than Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Daniel Berger and Harris English, just to name a few.
He’s coming in hot as well, posting two top 10s in his past four events. The last time he lost strokes tee-to-green was the third round of the Houston Open. He finished 45th in his debut at TPC Scottsdale last year, and if he could putt even mediocre he could easily contend this week.
He’s too good everywhere else to not win eventually. Bermuda is also his preferred putting surface, as he’s .3 strokes better than on other surfaces. 80/1 is a really nice price here.