Every year, the PGA Championship rotates to a different course. This year, the tournament moves back to South Carolina’s Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Ocean Course). Kiawah opened in 1976 and features five courses.
The Ocean Course is the most famous and opened in 1991. Designed by Pete Dye, the course was the battleground for the 1991 Ryder Cup. As the name indicates, Kiawah is a coastline course.
As such, it is a much less forgiving course for players who struggle with accuracy both off the tee and on the second shot. With the unpredictable wind conditions at the Ocean Course, accuracy and scramble play will be crucial for success.
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Last week, we scored two cashes with Sam Burns T-10 (+300) and Daniel Berger T-5 (+350). On the week, we netted a +250 return. Spieth missed cashing by four spots and Kang missed the cash by just one stroke.
Overall, it was a very successful week, highlighted by Daniel Berger’s final round 64 to jump all the way into the top five. On the season, we are sitting at +11.02 units.
Following last week’s heater, we are downshifting this week to play the most conservative lineup of the season. Due to the difficulty of this course, we are avoiding more of the longer odds players.
This week will be such an incredible challenge, so we can’t risk it taking guys who aren’t extremely talented. Here’s this week’s criteria:
- Good form of late
- Wind-friendly players (mostly foreign players)
- Shots-Gained approach to the Green
- Proven Winners
Good luck this week!
The odds come from the DraftKings Online Sportsbook.
Middle of the Fairway – Two players to finish in the top 20
Keegan Bradley +250
Keegan Bradley has quietly put on a strong run since the beginning of February. Keegan has made the cut in nine straight, finished top-30 in eight of his last nine, and finished top-5 in two of his last three.
Remember the last time the PGA Championship was played at the Ocean Course? Ol Keegan finished third that year. His advanced stats are enticing as well. Keegan is 8th in Shots-Gained approach to the Green, 5th in Tee-to-Green, 26th Around the Green, and 25th in GIRP.
He has the advanced numbers, the prior success at this course, and is playing excellent golf at the moment. As long as he putts even remotely well, Keegan should be in for a strong finish at the Ocean Course.
Marc Leishman +225
Marc Leishman has that signature low drive that helps him a lot in the wind. He’s also an Aussie, which means he’s better suited for windy tournaments. Leishman is coming in hot, finishing in the top-28 on each of his last four tournaments.
He finished fifth in the Masters and won in New Orleans at the Zurich, alongside fellow Aussie Cameron Smith. Leishman stumbled a bit last Sunday in the final round at AT&T Byron Nelson, but still finished 21st.
Leishman is 50th in Shots-Gained approach to the Green, but not particularly good in the other critical advanced stats. He’s an NBA Jam play this week who projects well with potential crazy wind and that’s it.
Edge of the Green – Two players to finish in the top 10
Daniel Berger +275
Daniel Berger has been playing really nice golf lately. He’s finished top 18 in four of his last five tournaments, and top 10 in two of his last five (including 3rd last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson).
Berger is among the best in the game right now in Birdie average (3rd) and Shots-Gained approach to the Green (18th). Berger is in great form and absolutely smoked the final round last Sunday (shooting a 64) to pull into 3rd at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Cameron Smith +400
We say we favor the guys who play well in the wind. Cameron Smith is one of those guys. Remember the Genesis Invitational back in February? Smith finished fourth in that windy, wild tournament. He’s playing hot coming in, finishing top-17 in six of his last seven tournaments.
He also took off the last few weeks following his victory at the Zurich Classic to prepare for this event. Smith is 11th in Shots-Gained around the Green, 27th in Shots-Gained Total, and 8th in Birdie average.
Though he’s not the most accurate off the tee, Smith is suited for the wind and has had plenty of time to prepare for this PGA Championship.
Eagle Opportunity – Three Players to finish in the top five
Jordan Spieth +300
Jordan Spieth is back! Though he hasn’t finished quite as high as we would’ve hoped lately (totally kidding), he’s seemingly returning to his old form. Spieth has finished top-ten in seven of his last nine.
Spieth is 16th in Shots-Gained approach to the Green, and 14th Around the Green. Given Spieth’s form lately, this seems to be a pretty obvious choice.
Viktor Hovland +400
Hovland is the PGA Tour leader in scoring average this season (69.73). He’s also 23rd in Shots-Gained approach to the Green, 6th in Tee-to-Green, 4th in Shots Gained Tee-to-Green and 4th in Shots Gained Total.
Hovland has quietly finished 3rd in his last two tournaments (Valspar & Wells Fargo). Hovland is excellent with his irons and as a European player, he’s well suited for unpredictable winds. He took last week off to prepare for this, so expect him to have a strong showing this week.
Rory McIlroy +250
Rory McIlroy switched coaches just before his victory at Wells Fargo. He’s also a European player, experienced on this type of course and the wacky wind.
It helps he won this tournament back in 2012 as well. McIlroy took last week off after winning at the Wells Fargo, so he should have had a decent amount of preparation time for the Ocean Course.