Regular followers of our golf betting tips will know we have recommended a series of each way picks that have returned steady sums in recent weeks, but that all-important winner had proven elusive…
Well, we’re happy to report that we finally bucked that trend last week when Charley Hoffman, our 30/1 selection, triumphed in the Valero Texas Open. Congratulations if you were on.
We shan’t be resting on our laurels however, and thoughts have already turned to this week’s PGA Tour event in New Orleans: the Zurich Classic, hosted by TPC Louisiana.
Zurich Classic: The Lowdown
The reigning champion here is Justin Rose, who backed up his runners-up spot at The Masters in 2015 by claiming this trophy shortly after.
It has proven to be a popular tournament on the circuit, and once again this year we are treated to the likes of Rose, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler joining the 100+ field. All of that trio are short priced at the head of the market – no surprise there – but we’ve never really enjoyed the prospect of backing single-figure starters in the past. However, we are happy to buck that trend with Rose this week (more on that later).
Other notable former winners of this event such as Billy Horschel, Jason Dufner and Seung-Yul Noh are also in the field, and naturally will attract plenty of interest.
If you look at the winning scores from recent renewals on TPC Louisiana – which range from -15 to -22 – then we can see that this tournament could become something of a birdie fest.
A Pete Dye design, it features Bermuda grass which offers a unique set of conditions that favour certain players more than others. So form in related events, such as the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, will be of relevance.
Playing the Par 5s well will be essential, as these offer a valuable opportunity to score low, and playing well from tee-to-green appears imperative: seven of the last eleven winners here have ranked in the top for Greens in Regulation, while an ability to scramble out of the rough (Rose finished fourth for this stat last year) will offer consolation for those wayward off the tee.
And finally there’s ability on the dancefloor to consider. The last four winners of this event have finished 6-3-11-12 in the Strokes Gained: Putting stat, so getting to the green is just part of the battle. Form will dictate whether a putter is hot or not.
Justin Rose (8/1)
It’s hard to oppose Rose here, despite the short price, and while punters are happy to back odds-on horses there’s no reason not to get involved with an 8/1 shot.
Rose is the defending champion here and his record in the Zurich Classic reads 10-15-8-1 for the last four years. Few – if any – can lay claim to a better record at TPC Louisiana than that.
His most recent outing was a top-ten finish at The Masters, which showcases how well Rose is striking the ball at the moment, and all things considered he has finished in the top ten in four of the eight events he has entered; a hit rate of 50%. We’ll take that every day of the week.
Billy Horschel (20/1)
A former winner here, it is a case of feast or famine for Billy Horschel in the Zurich Classic; but with his current form, we’re happy to get involved.
Horschel has returned three top-20s in recent weeks, including a 17th at The Masters, a 20th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a 4th at last week’s Texas Open. He is going into one of his favourite tournaments bang in form….that’s ominous for his opponents here.
As mentioned, TPC Louisiana is a low scorer’s paradise, and Horschel is amongst the best in the world at shooting low. He ranks 35th on tour for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 36th for Birdie Average and 37th for Scoring Average. Most importantly, he ranks 4th for Par 4 Birdie Leaders; which should help him to fire low where there is an abundance of opportunities to do so.
Smylie Kaufman (35/1)
A Louisiana State University graduate, Kaufman will have no doubt played countless rounds of golf on this course, and while this is his first trip professionally he should have all the tools at his disposal to go well here.
You might remember his run at The Masters, where he was second heading into the last round, and that is testament to the development of this young man’s game. He’s already won on the PGA Tour, and has a gamut of top-20 finishes to his name this term.
Kaufman boasts a whack off the tee, a solid approach game (37th for GIR) and is a decent enough putter to get the job done. Ranking 24th for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green is a fantastic insight too, as is 13th for Birdie Average and 3rd for Total Birdies.