Luke List found the water on the 72nd hole yesterday to miss out on a place by 1 shot. Jason Day was the winner with a ridiculous chipping and putting performance, gaining over 13 strokes with his short game! It would have been difficult to project as he hit less than half the fairways and only 57% of GIR for the week, but this can be overcome when you make every putt.
This week the ‘best field in golf’ head down to TPC Sawgrass in Jacksonville for another true golfing test. The course is a 7,200 yard Par 72 Pete Dye design with Bermuda greens. The test will be different to Quail Hollow as this is a ‘less than driver’ course where finding the fairway is more important. GIR rate drops dramatically here when playing from the rough and short game will be vital due to these greens being much smaller than average.
Key Stats we are looking at this week:
Despite a relatively poor history here, it still feels like a course that should suit Spieth’s game. He finished 4th on his first visit here but has missed the cut in each of the last 3 years. In the last 12 months he ranks first in the field in SG:T2G, 2nd in SG:APP, 3rd in Bogey Avoidance and 14th in scrambling. It may come as shock to casual golf followers but his problem in the last year has been with the putter. He has spoken about struggling to figure out these greens in the past but you would have to expect it will come back at some point. The lack of course history is giving us a good price for the win. He plays well on Pete Dye courses and often produces his best form on shorter tracks where using the Driver is not as important.3rd place in his last 2 starts show that the game is almost there.
Henrik Stenson 29/1 Skybet, BetStars, Betway 8 places 1/5 odds
The 2009 winner here, Stenson is in excellent recent form with Top 6s in his last 3 starts. For stats he ranks 5th in Driving accuracy, 5th in Bogey Avoidance and 10th in SG:APP over the last 12 months. He is also 9th in Bermuda Putting over the last 18 months. The main concern is with chipping where he has struggled this year but he has elite GIR stats which should mean he has to scramble less than most of the field. His last start was at the Masters where he came 5th having poor previous form at Augusta. Coming to a course where has has an excellent record could help him to play better and get the win.
Webb Simpson @ 100/1 Paddy Power 10 places e/w 1/5 odds
Webb is another player with in good recent form who looks a good fit for TPC Sawgrass. 22nd in SG:T2G, 2nd in Bogey Avoidance, 3rd in Par 3 Scoring and 1st in Scrambling in the last 12 months. His putting has improved dramatically over the last year or so. He ranks 25th in this field in Bermuda Putting over the last 18 months, 5th over the last 12 months and 3rd in 2018. 3 Top 10s in his last 6 strokeplay events he came 21st last week but was very close to putting a complete performance together. He gained 5 strokes on approach and was solid with chipping and putting. Driving was below par but that should not be a big problem this week where finding the fairway is more important than bombing it out there.
Chris Kirk @ 125/1 Paddy Power 10 places e/w 1/5 odds
Chris Kirk is a solid all-round player who is back to playing well. We backed him at The Heritage and the reasoning will be similar here. Kirk plays very well at Pete Dye courses but only finished 55th at The Heritage as he had an uncharacteristically poor week with his irons. Finished 8th last time out at Valero at a course that is not a clear fit for his game. In 2018 he is 18th in SG:T2G, 20th in Bogey Avoidance, 28th in SG:APP and 21st in Scrambling. Solid history at this course finishing 13th, 13th and 12th in 3 of the last 4 years(in 2016 he was forced to withdraw).
Chez Reavie @ 200/1 Paddy Power 10 places e/w 1/5 odds. 250/1 Bet365 6 places e/w 1/4 odds
Chez was on fire in February with back-to-back 2nd places but has really struggled since then. He has taken a month off since the Masters so hopefully can start getting back to form here. A shorter more accurate hitter, he is 2nd in Driving Accuracy over the last year and even in his recent slump he was still finding fairways. A solid iron player, he also ranks 5th in Bogey Avoidance, 7th in Par 3 scoring and 24th in Scrambling in the last 12 months. Doesn’t have a great record here or at other Pete Dye courses but he has the game to do well at his best and worth a shot @ 200/1+.