It was another week where we had returns from our tips at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where it was the turn of 25/1 selection Patrick Cantlay to finish 2 shots off the winning score in a tie for 4th place.
Cantlay was electric off-the-tee and in approach into the greens, however it was the putter that let him down. Four misses from five feet or less around the turn on his 3rd round definitely hurt his chances. Any other week I am sure he would have put up a serious bid for the championship. We will take the place with all things considering.
It was 250/1 shot Kurt Kitayama who made his breakthrough last week on the PGA Tour with the win by one stroke. He fended off some of the worlds best superbly coming down the back 9, where the likes of Tyrrell Hatton and Rory McIlroy had great chances to win. Kurt has previously made his name on the DP World Tour, prevailing on tough tracks that require a good performance with the driver.
He held the 54 hole lead at Pebble Beach a couple of weeks back, so was showing some Florida form. However, it was mighty impressive to see him convert the win in an 'elevated' event on Tour. Lets move onto this week.
The Players Championship Betting Odds
A four hour drive north along the Florida coast takes the players from their stay at Palm Beach to Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville, Florida. Where the elite golf continues at TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship, the unofficial 5th major in the golfing calendar in most punter’s eyes. The 2020 edition was unfortunately abandoned after round 1 due to the rise in onsite Covid cases, it was after Matsuyama shot a great first round 63.
Can the players get through four rounds without being victim to the short Par 3 17th? Standing at just 137 yards, players shoot into an island green over water onto a slopping green, when the wind is up the hole is an absolute brute.
About TPC Sawgrass
- Par 72 – 7275 yards
- 4 x Par 3s - ranging from 137-237 yards
- 10 x Par 4s - ranging from 369-481 yards
- 4 x Par 5s - ranging from 523-602 yards
- Pete Dye design 1980 - Steve Wenzloff redesign 2017
- Greens are overseeded with Poa Trivialis - 13th smallest of Tour
- Shot shapers golf course
- 16 holes on the course with water in play and plenty of bunkers
- 3 out of 4 Par 3s, 180 yards and below.
- 5/10 Par 4s all below 425 yards
- All 4 Par 5s reachable in 2 for most players, all under 580 yards.
A classical set up once again and the headache continues for the guys this week as the stretch of tough golf courses goes on.
There are the same amount of Par 3s, 4s and 5s as we saw last week at Bay Hill and similarly this week scoring has to come on the four Par 5s on offer as they again are all reachable. The 9th will take two excellent shots to get home in, especially if the wind is hurting. However, the other 3 Par 5s should be absolutely scorable to everyone.
Par 4s are interesting here at Sawgrass and always ‘sort the men from the boys’ if you like. Not the longest of 4s the players will see this year on tour, however typical to Pete Dye they are all full with water/deep bunker hazards and require a strategic approach. Less than driver will be taken from the tee more times than not on them, so guys with nice SG: OTT stats this year will be advantageous here.
Hitting the fairways will not be as much of a premium this week compared to last, the rough is not as penal as it was at Bay Hill. It is more about getting it in the right positions to get the best angle into the greens. Patience/bogey avoidance again will feature however.
Previous winners and their Performance Stats
2022 Winner – Cameron Smith -13
- 68th OTT
- 35th T2G
- 52nd GIR
- 5th APP
- 22nd SCR
- 1st PA
2021 Winner – Justin Thomas -14
- 10th OTT
- 1st T2G
- 17th GIR
- 5th APP
- 14th SCR
- 14th PA
2019 Winner – Rory McIlory -16
- 2nd OTT
- 1st T2G
- 3rd GIR
- 6th APP
- 40th SCR
- 9th PA
2018 Winner – Webb Simpson -18
- 32nd OTT
- 16th T2G
- 5th GIR
- 62nd APP
- 24th SCR
- 9th PA
2017 Winner – Si Woo Kim -10
- 2nd OTT
- 2nd T2G
- 37th GIR
- 18th APP
- 1st SCR
- 26th PA
2016 Winner – Jason Day -15
- 28th OTT
- 3rd T2G
- 15th GIR
- 9th APP
- 1st SCR
- 13th PA
Average stats for the past 6 winners – Average Score -14
- 24th OTT
- 10th T2G
- 21st GIR
- 17th APP
- 17th SCR
- 12th PA
Comparing the averages to what we saw in the preview last week for Bay Hill, player’s T2G performances and Off The Tee games are even more crucial. I am confident to discount Smith as he holed it from everywhere and had to battle some adverse weather conditions during his first 2 rounds.
Stats to Consider
- SG: OTT
- SG: T2G
- Bogey Avoidance
- Par 4/5 scoring, more focus on Par 4s
SG: OTT – As mentioned above, tee shots need to be placed correctly in order to maximise approach shots into these greens.
SG: T2G – 4/6 last winners of The Players Championship all ranked in the top 3 for their T2G stat.
Scrambling/Bogey Avoidance – Minimizing mistakes on tough golf courses is always key and will be the same here this week, scrambling will need to be on point in order to do so, as players will miss greens this week at some stage.
Par 4/5 scoring – The Par 4s here are a tricky and strange set compared to other places, ranging from 302 yards upto 481 yards in total. From very scorable to tricky ones, players Par 4 scoring will need to be looked at on the season in my opinion to see how well they usually navigate them and as driver will not be used on most of them its even more important.
The Par 5s here are short yes as I said and yes players should birdie Par 5s under 580 yard a high percentage of the time, however I will be casting an eye over the averages for this year on Tour just to make sure that my guys are serial scorers on the longer holes as that’s where players need to make up their ground this week.
The Players Championship Betting Tips
This week I have six 1pt each way selections. All with 8 places. Lets hit a big one at the unofficial 5th Major of the year.
1. Tony Finau 28/1
2. Jason Day 28/1
3. Tyyrell Hatton 30/1
4. Tommy Fleetwood 80/1
5. Adam Scott 100/1
6. Thomas Detry 175/1