The perils, or opportunities, of betting at this time of year were illustrated at Annandale last week, even if the favourite ended up winning the event. Seven out of the top ten in the Viking Classic began the week outside the top 125, although picking some of them out was far from straightforward. This week’s task is even trickier, with a new tournament at a venue without any recent tournament form. Davis Love is the tournament host and charity sponsor of the McGladrey Classic.
Course and stats
A par 70 measuring 7,055 yards, Sea Island Golf Club is rated as one of the best American courses. As the name implies, it is exposed to the wind, creating a linksy feel. However, the forecast predicts a very calm weekend, potentially removing the principal defence. The key skills appear to be long game accuracy to avoid hazards, and a high-class short game.
Tentatively given the lack of past evidence, I’m looking at greens in regulation and scrambling as the two key stats. I have a sneaky feeling there could be a correlation between form at the Heritage Classic, played at Harbour Town Golf Links.
2pts ew DAVID TOMS @ 25/1 (GENERAL)
After a poor first half of the season, Toms is finishing strongly. His performance last week at Annandale is barely reflected by 11th place, having looked set to miss the cut at one stage and ruining much good work with a disastrous final two holes. That follows on from a top 15 at Cog Hill, along with a runners-up spot at the recent Wyndham Championship.
This short seaside layout should be perfect for the former Open champion. Leonard has looked to be strking form on a couple of recent occasions, particularly when third at the Wyndham, and his subsequent FedEx Cup efforts were solid if unspectacular.
0.5pt ew BEN CURTIS @ 100/1 (GENERAL)
Curtis has a rather light schedule these days, playing only five times since June, four of which were elite events. That has left him perilously close to the cut-line, so he might well be better focussed during the Fall Series. Odds of 100/1 is a massive price on his best form, such as finishing top 15 in the US Open or of course, winning three titles including an Open.
0.5pt ew MARK WILSON @ 100/1 (GENERAL, 125/1 BET365)
Currently languishing in 138th place, Wilson looks exactly the type to thrive in these late season affairs. He’s won twice before on the PGA Tour, showing a resolute temperament in the process. A top 25 at Annandale was solid enough to build upon, and he ticks the right statistical boxes for this test.
0.5pt ew ROCCO MEDIATE @ 150/1 (GENERAL)
Rocco needs something of a miracle to retain his card from 183rd place, but has at least started to grind out some results in recent weeks, registering three top 25s from his last seven starts. This short, positional layout could bring older players like Mediate into the mix, due to the greater emphasis on accuracy rather than power. Only two years have passed since he took Tiger to the 91st hole of the US Open, and his recent gir stats have been outstanding.