The great thing about the PGA Tour is that its winners are not always who you think they’ll be. Take, for example, the 36-hole leaderboard at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Here are the names at the top of the leaderboard grouped by score together with their career low PGA Tour rounds:
12-under – Matt Jones (62) and Bubba Watson (62)
10-under – Greg Chalmers (63) and Harris English (62)
9-under – Hideki Matsuyama (65), Pat Perez (60) and Kevin Stadler (61)
8-under – William McGirt (63), Brandt Snedeker (61), Patrick Reed (63) and Scott Piercy (61)
7-under – Morgan Hoffman (63), Martin Laird (62) and Jason Kokrak (63)
5-under – 12 players
4-under – 11 players
All of these players at 5-under, except for one, has completed all 36 holes. There are two more on the cut line at 1-under and one outside the cut line at even par.
If all four of those players remain at their same cumulative score, the “low 70 players and ties” cut stands at 77 players.
With Jones and Watson at 12-under, what will it take to catch them? It’s the age old question, “What’s it gonna take?”
Here are the number of low rounds on Thursday and Friday:
7-under: 2 and 2
6-under: 7 and 2
5-under: 9 and 6
4-under: 13 and 11
Scoring was not as good on Friday due to a cold, cloudy and windy day, but clearly it was possible for at least 2 players to replicate each of Thursday’s lowest scores. But these historical scores, good as these players are, are not a limit on how low subsequent scores might be. That’s why I included their low career PGA Tour rounds to really demonstrate what they are capable of.
And that’s what makes the PGA Tour such a great sports franchise. There are no players sufficiently dominant that we can say that “they’re the one.”
In other words, at this point there’s no way to tell who’s going to win this thing…although in this field, on this course and given how they’re playing right now, Bubba Watson would have to be a favorite. Hard to believe he’ll back up from here and totally believable that he will go still lower in large chunks.
But you never know.