PGA Championship Best Bets

Mark Diana
Golf Analyst

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The second Major of 2021 is upon us! Golfers will be tested this week with a brute of a course. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island has been ranked as the hardest golf course by Golf Digest. The course is unofficially 7,876 yards, the longest course in Major Championship history. Keep an eye on the weather forecast as the week progresses, as the scoring conditions will be dictated by the severity of the winds.

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is a coastal, Pete Dye-designed course. The vision while building this course was to build a links style course, which means the Europeans in the field might reap the benefits of the design. The PGA Tour has been no stranger to Pete Dye courses so far this season. Precision and execution are the name of the game this week. While the course is certainly long, golfers will need to be creative with their shot-making and need to keep the ball in the fairway. Missing the fairways will be almost as deadly as missing the green. Missing the green will land golfers in tricky runoff areas and leave golfers scrambling for par. Avoiding bogeys, and avoiding double bogeys will be paramount. You can find my article of Golfers to Target here!

Each week I will post some of my favorite bets of the week. I will focus on my two favorite outright bets, a couple of full tournament matchups, and a couple of top finishes bets! You can find my entire betting card on my Twitter account, @GolfBets101.

Favorite Outrights

Patrick Reed 35-1

Patrick Reed is a big game hunter, who plays his best golf when all of the top-tier players in the world are teeing off next to him. Reed has won multiple WGCs, multiple FedEx Cup playoff events, the Tournament of Champions, and a Major Championship. There is no doubt that Reed has the win equity required to win a Major. Earlier this year at Torrey Pines, the longest course played on Tour this season, Reed won by a four-shot margin. The eighth ranked player in the world, Reed excels on long courses. He is ranked first in Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards (there are eight holes in that range this week), and first in Par 5 Efficiency 550-600 yards. This is a great spot for Reed and he is far and away my favorite bet of the week.

Xander Schauffele 20-1

Xander Schauffele is the fourth ranked golfer in the world despite not winning since 2019. He has done this by recording more Top 5 finishes than missed cuts during that span. Scahuffele is another player who contends against elite fields. In fifteen career appearances at Major Championships, Schauffele has eight Top 10 finishes. Xander is long off the tee, good at getting to the green, and great Around-the-Green, Schauffele is the exact mold I was looking for when building my outright card this week. This is the week where Xander breaks out of the winless drought and wins his first Major!

Matchups

Adam Scott +116 vs Sergio Garcia

Some of Scott’s most recent wins are at Riviera, Colonial, PGA National, and Augusta. Scott plays his best golf when the course is difficult and players are not able to go really low. Since golf resumed last June, Scott has made the cut in every event he has played. His form is not great, but I have doubts about Garcia. Garcia is coming off of a missed cut last week where he fell apart on Friday. Since Sergio won the Masters, he has played in fourteen Major Championships and he’s missed the cut in ten of them.

Stewart Cink -134 vs Brendon Todd

Stewart Cink has seen an astonishing rejuvenation to his career with two wins already this season. Among all PGA Tour players, Cink is ranked first in Greens-in-Regulation. This allows him to play error-free and avoid mistakes. Todd struggles on Approach and Off-the-Tee. He is a great putter but his lack of ball-striking will make this a tough week for Todd. 

Patrick Reed-126 vs Patrick Cantlay

I’ve already talked about how much I like Patrick Reed this week, and I like his chances to win the event. I can’t say the same thing for Patrick Cantlay. Cantlay has three missed cuts in his last four starts, and his only made cut was at the Team Event. Cantlay has been bleeding strokes with his putter and has been struggling with his overall game.

Top Finishes

Charley Hoffman Top 40 +210

Since the start of the calendar year, Hoffman is gaining 1.31 strokes per round ball-striking (fourth in this field), 1.01 strokes per round in Approach (sixth in this field), and 1.72 Total Strokes per round (third in this field). Hoffman’s ball-striking has been resurgent this year and he’s been able to contend at many events because of it. He is known for his ability to play well in the wind and his consistency is appealing to me this week because I think balance will translate into a high finish or a win at this course.

Emilaino Grillo Top 40 +155

Emiliano Grillo is a coastal course specialist. Grillo’s best finishes have been at events like Mayakoba, Puerto Rico Open, Corales Puntacana, and RBC Heritage. Grillo has been successful at courses with paspalum greens, and he is a great ball-striker. Grillo is third in GIRs Gained, 13th in Approach, and 16th Off-the-Tee. With Top 70 and ties making the cut, and almost 20 PGA Professional in the field, the Top 40 percentage is higher than expected this week. I love this value on a player who has shown good form recently.

Cameron Smith Top 30 +100

In his last five events, Smith has finishes of first, ninth, 10th, 28th, and 17th. Smith has played well at Majors only missing three cuts in 18 appearances. Smith has only missed one cut in 2021, and has eight finishes of T11 or better in fifteen events. Smith is a short-game specialist and is a great Par 5 player.

Matthew Fitzpatrick Top 30 +155

The 26-year-old Englishman has been great this year, recording four Top 10 finishes in 13 starts. Fitzpatrick’s strong finishes are a result of him gaining strokes Off-the-Tee despite being a somewhat short hitter. He is a great putter, and he prefers events where par is a good score. I expect scoring to be tough this week which brings Fitzpatrick into play this week.

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