PGA CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING APPROACH by @MattTizzardGolf

Hi all

A reduced article this week of all weeks. It’s been a challenge but I am happy with my plays!

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Last time out with the coupon

A frustrating week and our first blank in a while. Albeit, only 1 of our 6 picks missed the cut. Will Zalatoris actually hit it ok on Thursday and Friday, yet missed the cut due to the familiar issues with his rather long, short stick.

Our 100/1 shots of Lashley & Lipsky both flirted with places over the weekend. Finishing -18 & -17 respectably, I can’t really complain with the process. They both played well, but scoring was easy and they ended up a few shots away from picking up 20u each!

Until that bunker shot on 13, JT looked well in the mix. I certainly will be back on JT at The PGA Championship this week. He finished 5th but I didn’t shoot EW on him.

Therefore, tied in with a poor week on The DP World Tour. Following not 1, 2 but 3 Connor Syme collapses (will keep tabs on him!). We have a -9u week and now are only +3u on the year. The downswing continues but again on The PGA Tour, our picks play well. As Arsenal Manager Mikael  Arteta would say, trust the process.

The betting spreadsheet has been updated on The Betting Blog, and we roll ahead into the 2nd Major of the year!

The PGA Championship

To Oaklahoma where The PGA Championship will be held for the 104th time at Southern Hills Golf Club. As a European, it’s safe for me to say that The PGA Championship or USPGA Championship is the least-watched of the 4. 

However, I believe there are many reasons to tune in. Firstly the PGA Championship is the strongest field in golf. A maximum of 156 golfers compete for the Wanamaker Trophy and qualify through a meritocracy based format. The current criteria to date included (from Wikipedia)

  • Every former PGA Champion.
  • Winners of the last five U.S. Opens.
  • The winners of the last five Masters.
  • Winners of the last five Open Championships.
  • Winners of the last three The Players Championships.
  • The current Senior PGA Champion.
  • The low 15 scorers and ties in the previous PGA Championship.
  • The 20 low scorers in the last PGA Professional Championship.
  • The 70 leaders in official money standings on the PGA Tour (starting one week before the previous year’s PGA Championship and ending two weeks before the current year’s PGA Championship).
  • Members of the most recent United States and European Ryder Cup Teams, provided they are in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of one week before the start of the tournament.
  • Any tournament winner co-sponsored or approved by the PGA Tour since the previous PGA Championship .
  • The PGA of America reserves the right to invite additional players not included in the categories listed above.
  • The total field is a maximum of 156 players. Vacancies are filled by the first available player from the list of alternates (those below 70th place in official money standings).

From a betting perspective, the PGA Championship you will find the most amount of “long-shots.” For example, even last year, Phil Michelson won at Kiawah Island and was 200/1 at some bookmakers. Looking through the list, Martin Kaymer & Keegan Bradley won in 2010 and 2011 which was their major “breakthroughs.” Who also can forget Y.E Yang holding off Tiger Woods in Minnesota in 2009.

The point is, that major breakthroughs and slightly longer – shots can compete in this event. My only reluctance to fill my card with players in the 80 – 120 /1 mark is the course. I do believe the set-up will ensure the cream rises. Particularly those who are strongest from 120 yards and in. 

SOUTHERN HILLS – The Course

Southern Hills Country club is a Par 70 a smidge over 7300 yards. The greens are many players putting favorite, bent grass and the fairways are very tight Bermuda grass. The reason for this is it brings roll-off areas into play. A miss placed approach can land and end up 50 yards away through the slopes of the course.

We saw Southen Hills last year when Alex Cejka won (1000/1 this week). I watched this back and found that he was leading after round 1 and went on to win by 4 shots at -8. He put his win down to the fact he’s 50 and he is now driving it better. I think this course doesn’t crush you for being out o position from the tee, but it will with the 2nd shot. Particularly from the rough. 

We did see the course also in the noughties, however, there has been significant work since. 

I am writing quite factually, hold on, this is a beautiful parkland course. One of the best in America in parkland. It’s tree-lined, albeit many have been stripped since Tiger Woods last the Wanamaker Trophy here in 2007

There is plenty of elevation into the greens, aesthetically it’s a fantastic course. The 1st and 10th tee are up high and you tee off down into battle. Streams meander throughout the course, some dry and some still full of water. When Maxwell redesigned the course, this position of the streams in conjunction with the greens was taken fully advantage of throughout. 

It’s make-up includes, 4 Par 3s, 12 Par 4s, and 2 Par 5s which are a monstrous 632 & 656 yards. Will I factor that into my picks? No to be honest.

Anyway, this is a natural, undulating site and what the designers have done is calved out something that is beautiful & complicated. I imagine professional golfers and visitors love to play here.

It reminds me of The Masters aesthetically. Yes this typically is the major we are “least” interested in over here. Maybe not this week.

The Weather

The Weather will play a key factor. If the firm and fast, I could see the winning score around -8. However, if softer it could be closer to -18.

The weather looks to be warm and clear, with possible rain on Friday. Therefore, in terms of AM/ PM starts. I am not factoring that into my picks.

Key Stats Analysed

  • Driving accuracy
  • Strokes gained approach
  • Strokes gained putting

I have been complex over the last few weeks, maybe overly so. Therefore I am going to look at the course and say this. If you are in the rough it’s going to be very hard to find the greens. The run-off areas will find you and the terrain is a further factor that makes ball control difficult. 

Ultimately, players that are on the fairway, WILL HAVE to be tuned in with the PW and down. To ensure optimum strikes to keep that ball on the green.

After Will Zalatoris crushed me with his terrible putting, I am not entertaining flushers with average short sticks.  No sir, not this week.

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING PICKS

Justin Thomas 16/1 – 6 places  Boyle Sports

As a golf fan, I really feel like it’s coming for JT. I am picking him because his strokes gained in approach is +1.07 over the past 24 rounds and this is a statistic I am leaning on. The only player in the top of the market that can beat that is Cam Smith.

His T2G game is solid and the putter is working. He has 3 Top 10s in his last 5 starts. 

I thought Thomas was excellent last week as a tipped him at the AT&T Byron Nelson. His swing looks in great shape and he was once more shaping the ball as we know he can. I particularly enjoyed his right to left draws and slings. Taking some anecdotal information from Andy Lack, he believes a drawer of the ball will prefer this course. Another tick on JT.

Shane Lowry 25/1 1u – 8 places Boyle Sports

I have noticed that Shane is very popular this week. I would have expected it anyway considering his ball-striking clinics of late. Also, the putter is working. 

The only thing that concerns me with Shane is his “closeability” having had shots in the early parts of the year to win again.

If the course gets firmer and faster I think the jolly Irishman can stick with the pace. Having won The Open where you need a shit hot short game, that side of Lowry’s game will always keep him in touch. The difference is right now, the swing is on point.

Shane is one of the most in-form putters in the field and currently is gaining 0.82 shots in the approach (over past 24 rounds).

Abraham Ancer 90/1 6 places 0.75u – Boyle Sports

Out of the 4 Majors, The PGA Championship as I said, is often the first for players to win. 

Statistically, Abraham matches up. He is one of the straightest off the tee on the entire PGA Tour. His iron play needs to improve this week but you cannot argue with the putter. He is the 4th best putter playing this week, gaining 0.84 strokes (based on 24 previous rounds).

Abraham had a good week at the matchplay but hasn’t played near his best since. When I noted his prices creeping up I thought it was a good value play. I won’t say no to 90/1

Min Woo Lee  200/1 12 Places 0.5u – Boyle Sports

This lad has a bright future in the game and I am going to be consistent with him while the price is so high. My thoughts are, if I back in at 200 / 400/1 over the next 2 or 3 years, that is a + EV decision. 

Fans of the DP World Tour will know Min Woo very well. Particularly from his impressive victory in Scotland. There isn’t sufficient data to pull game trends, but I backed him at The Masters where he finished 14th. 

Finally, I will be taking Speith at the best Outright price I can find and I don’t think I can say any more about him.  Readers will know how much I analyze his game, it’s there alright. I also will take 0.25u on DP World Tour player Ryan Fox.

This has been a challenging week personally to keep the blog up to date, hence why it’s a short one this week. I can’t wait to settle down and watch this weekend. Oh, and the missus is away!

Have a  good week all and good luck.

Matt Tizzard

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