2022 Waste Management Open Round 4 Buys & Fades: Bet Brooks Koepka to Power Past Sahith Theegala
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Brooks Koepka
- Rookie Sahith Theegala is the 54-hole leader of the Waste Management Open, but a plethora of big names have him in their sights.
- Among them is defending champ Brooks Koepka, who is actually the betting favorite entering the final round.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of values and fades for Sunday's tournament conclusion.
Click here for full Waste Management Open odds from PointsBet
The biggest party in golf went off the rails on Saturday when Sam Ryder aced the stadium hole at the Par 3 16th. Beers rained down from all angles as the reverberations could be heard all the way outside the grounds. It was an epic moment that will be replayed many times Sunday and for years to come as an annual reminder of the debauchery that is the 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
It was the peak of the day for Ryder as he will go into Sunday eight shots back of a lead still held by Sahith Theegala, who appears to be the next rising star on TOUR. He, for my money, will be the most impressive story of the week, regardless of how things shake out in the final round. He was far from perfect on Saturday and really stumbled early but bounced back to reclaim a one-shot lead over Brooks Koepka. They will be joined by Scottie Scheffler who posted the round of the week with a 9-under 62 to climb into contention.
Scheffler is joined at 12-under by Patrick Cantlay, Talor Gooch, and Xander Schauffele, who will make up the penultimate group. Five more players are at 11-under including Hideki Matsuyama, who is seeking his third win at this event.
Overall, there are 19 players within five shots of the lead, which is the exact deficit Koepka erased to win in 2021. It's likely that someone in that mix goes low and we will work through the data to see if we can find that player to go win it on Sunday in Phoenix.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
If I have to pick a winner, I'm taking the easy way out and predicting that Brooks Koepka will repeat as champion and capture his third Phoenix Open. He is simply a closer, and with a young player just one shot ahead and the other in their group still trying to find his first win, it seems like a perfect spot for him.
I actually think the fact that he didn't have his best stuff on Saturday actually makes me like him a bit more for the win. He salvaged a round despite not having the best part of his game, his irons. Koepka had to lean heavily on his putter to get him through the round, and it came through time and again for par saves and difficult birdie makes. I expect he bounces back with his full ball striking game on Sunday and puts pressure on the rest of his group, and the field as a whole throughout the round.
While I say all of this and do expect that it's highly likely he's our winner, the odds aren't quite there for me to fully add him to the card. Our friends over at DataGolf have him his win probability at 16.5%, which would equate to about +500 and it looks like the best number at the books is +350 from BetMGM. He makes for a nice play leading into the Super Bowl, but I'll tread lightly in what I anticipate to be a wild and difficult to predict Sunday of golf.
Hideki Matsuyama is another player looking for his third win at this event and I love the way his game developed on Saturday. He had been struggling mightily the first two rounds off the tee, losing better than two strokes to the field in that metric and hitting just 11 fairways combined. Matsuyama turned that around completely on Saturday, hitting nine fairways and gaining better than a shot off the tee. He coupled that resurgence with his sharp iron game on his way to a 5-under 66.
The Japanese star and reigning Masters Champion will start the final round three shots back of the lead. He's +1200 on FanDuel to pull off the win and that is an add that makes a lot of sense to me going into Sunday.
While there is always a chance that someone could come from five or more shots behind and steal this tournament, I don't think it happens this year. There seems to be too many players in the mix, they won't all struggle and it's likely that one of the 12 guys within four will go low enough to put those further back at bay.
I'm sticking with those within three shots, and with my pre-tournament play in Max Homa. He has been nothing short of sensational tee to green this week, and even today when he seemed to struggle the overall numbers are worse than the reality.
Homa lost a quarter of a shot to the field on approach in the third round, but two shots made up more than a majority of those lost strokes. He hit an extremely poor approach from just over 100 yards in the middle of the fairway on the 2nd hole, which lost him 0.79 shots to the field. He later dunked one in the water on the Par 5 15th, which lost him 1.38 shots.
Those two swings lost him better than two shots, while he only lost strokes on five more approaches in the round. He still had his game in good shape, as he did in the opening rounds, and it really showed as he closed the day with birdies on four of the final five holes.
If you aren't in yet on Max Homa, I like him as a buy going into Sunday at +2500 on BetMGM. The guy is a winner with three TOUR wins including two in the last year, and he won't be afraid of the final round pressure at TPC Scottsdale.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
As I mentioned, Sahith Theegala was really impressive in the third round. He bounced back from his early issues and managed to walk away as the solo 54-hole leader. I was most impressed by the way he carried himself; he seemed to have a ton of confidence no matter how things were going. He certainly didn't play like the rookie of that group and that will be something for him to lean on going forward. While all of that is great, Saturday is one thing, but Sunday is a whole different animal.
I expect to see him struggle on Sunday as the pressure rises and with the way his tee game has wobbled at times this week, he may get in a spot that plays him out of contention. Staring down Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler throughout the day on Sunday with some of the big names playing right in front of him is going to be really hard on the young player and I'll play the fade especially at really short odds.
The old adage is that it's difficult to follow up a great round with another good one. It gets even tougher when you have to do it on Sunday while seeking your first win on TOUR. That is the crux of what makes Scottie Scheffler a final round fade for me at the WMPO.
Scheffler was great during his 9-under 62 on Saturday, and frankly it came out of nowhere. He really struggled to start the week, especially on approach, where he lost 3.5 shots to the field with his irons on Friday. He still managed to make the cut despite those struggles, and clearly took advantage of that opportunity on moving day.
My concern now is that he has to replicate a good round on Sunday and look to find a way to overcome the likes of Koepka to win. It is certainly lining up for a good week for Scheffler, but I don't see that first win in the cards for him on Sunday.
Xander Schauffele has survived the concerns of COVID testing this week as he came out of those protocols on Saturday. It seemed to be nothing more than a distraction for him as he came out with a sharp game in the opening nine holes. Unfortunately, things turned south as they do too often on the weekends for Schauffele as he put one in the water off the 12th tee, then again on approach at the 15th.
I have him on my card already at +2500 from pre-tournament, but he will go into Sunday as a fade for me. We have seen Schauffele struggle too many times down the stretch on the weekends, which was highlighted in this event last year when he fumbled away the lead in the final round.
It may seem like I'm hedging my bets here, but the reality is that he needs to show us he can get it done before we consider buying in at single-digit odds going into a Sunday.