Lefty, Kuchar are safe bets, but don't forget Frazar
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
For the first time the Bob Hope . . . er, Humana Challenge . . . is now only a four-round tournament.
So, who is likely to take advantage of 18 fewer holes and win the title this week?
With two events in the books, a trend is starting to form with one player.
Harrison Frazar has finished in the top 10 in the first two events, with a fifth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and runner-up finish at the Sony Open last week.
It’s the first time since 2007 that Frazar has recorded at least two top 10s.
At the end of the 2005 season, Frazar also recorded three-consecutive top-10s at the Valero Texas Open (8th), Michelin Championship (3rd) and Disney (3rd).
Winning for his first time on Tour last year, Frazar has played in 12 Hope Classic events, with three top-10 finishes in the desert.
If you want to go with the hot golfer, Frazar is one to seriously look at.
With Steve Stricker taking the next four weeks off, only Sony Open Johnson Wagner is in the field of the 2012 winners.
Wagner has not had much success in the desert, making four starts without a top 10, including two consecutive missed cuts in 2010 and 2011.
At 50-1, Las Vegas doesn’t believe in Wagner’s chances.
The two favorites according to Vegas are Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.
Kuchar has a solid record at Humana with a second in 2011 and a seventh in 2010. Using Humana as his 2012 debut, Kuchar may be rusty, but with 20 top 10s in the last two years expect a good performance.
Mickelson is also using Humana as his 2012 debut as well. In nine appearances here, Lefty had recorded four top 10s, including victories in 2002 and 2004.
With a solid Presidents Cup in November, Mickelson started to show some of the form he was missing for most of 2011.
Mickelson plans for the offseason were to work hard to get prepared for the 2012 and to spend time with his wife Amy, who is showing very positive signs of recovering from her cancer.
At 15-1, Kuchar and Mickelson are solid favorites this week.
Others that have had success in the desert in their careers:
• Stephen Ames: 3 top 10s, showed life last week and maybe a good dark horse.
• Chad Campbell: Winner in 2006, Campbell made the cut at Sony, but was near the bottom of the pack, finishing T-71.
• Chris DiMarco: Two top 10s and had a very successful Sony finishing 13th and seems rejuvenated for the 2012 season.
• David Duval: Needing a sponsor's exemption after losing his card in 2011, Duval returns to the scene of his 59 when he won in 1999. With four top 10s, Duval likes the desert, but what game will he bring to the Human is the question.
• Bill Haas: Haas, who who this event in 2010, is the current FedEx Cup champion and has had tremendous success with his worst finish a 34th in seven appearances and never missed a cut.
Frazar, Haas, Kuchar and Mickelson almost assuredly will make a mark this week and are my best bets.
A look at the official odds:
- Matt Kuchar. . . 15/1
- Phil Mickelson. . . 15/1
- Dustin Johnson. . . 20/1
- Bill Haas. . . 20/1
- Charles Howell III. . . 25/1
- Bo Van Pelt. . . 25/1
- Martin Laird. . . 25/1
- Zach Johnson. . . 30/1
- Anthony Kim. . . 30/1
- Brian Gay. . . 30/1
- Kevin Na. . . 40/1
- Ryan Moore. . . 40/1
- Brandt Snedeker. . . 40/1
- Carl Pettersson. . . 40/1
- Ben Crane. . . 40/1
- Camilo Villegas. . . 40/1
- Bryce Molder. . . 40/1
- Trevor Immelman. . . 40/1
- John Senden. . . 40/1
- Bud Cauley. . . 40/1
- Rory Sabbatini. . . 50/1
- Chris Kirk. . . 50/1
- Spencer Levin. . . 50/1
- Harrison Frazar. . . 50/1
- Johnson Wagner. . . 50/1
- David Toms. . . 50/1
- Jhonattan Vegas. . . 50/1
- Michael Thompson. . . 50/1
- John Rollins. . . 50/1
- Jason Dufner. . . 50/1
- Chad Campbell. . . 60/1
- Charley Hoffman. . . 60/1
- Nick O’Hern. . . 60/1
- Greg Chalmers. . . 60/1
- Brendon De Jonge. . . 60/1
- Kyle Stanley. . . 60/1
- Jeff Overton. . . 60/1
- Ryan Palmer. . . 60/1
- D.J. Trahan. . . 60/1
- David Hearn. . . 60/1
- Kevin Streelman. . . 60/1
- Robert Garrigus. . . 60/1
- Pat Perez. . . 60/1
- Scott Piercy. . . 60/1
- Steve Marino. . . 80/1
- Seung-Yul Noh. . . 80/1
- Chez Reavie. . . 80/1
- Ricky Barnes. . . 100/1
- Danny Lee. . . 150/1
- Field (All Others). . . 4/1
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