The PGA Tour heads to the Innisbrook Resort this week for the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank, the second-event of the four-tournament Florida Swing.
As always, the tournament – formerly the Transitions Championship – has attracted some stellar names, including Ryder Cup stars Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Jason Dufner.
Adam Scott – who closed with a 64 last week at the WGC-Cadillac – and Louis Oosthizen are also in the field.
Last year, Donald make an unlikely birdie at the first play-off hole to defeat Sang-Moon Bae, Robert Garrigus and Jim Furyk after all four players finished 72-holes on 13-under-par.
The Copperhead Course at Innisbruck has staged a total of 14 PGA Tour events, and is traditionally one of the more testing courses on the PGA Tour roster.
The course isn’t long by modern standards, and driving accuracy, scrambling and putting have historically been the most important attributes at the Tampa Bay Championship.
Donald is the 12/1 favourite this week with Ladbrokes, but given his indifferent start to 2013, I’d be tempted to look elsewhere.
It is hard to look past Sergio Garcia this week at 14/1 with Ladbrokes. The Spaniard hasn’t finished outside the top 25 since August 2012, and comes into the week following a tie for third at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, where he ranked second in Greens in Regulation. Garcia has also recorded top 20s in his last two starts at Copperhead.
Louis Oosthuizen, at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, can’t be overlooked at such a good price. He traditionally performs well in the Spring and has shown glimpses of form over the last two weeks. He posted three sub-par rounds at the WGC-Cadillac and finished inside the top 20 at the Tampa Bay Championship last year. He’ll also be looking to kick-start his season ahead of the Masters.
Luke Guthrie, at 50/1 with Ladbrokes, looks well priced this week. The 23-year-old – who only turned professional last season – finished inside the top 26 at Torrey Pines, Riviera and Pebble Beach and came third at the Honda Classic, where he led after 54 holes. He is a good ball striker and a talented youngster, and a maiden PGA Tour title won’t be too far away.
Zach Johnson, at 80/1 with Ladbrokes, hasn’t made a good start to the season, but he is far too good to be ignored at such a high price. His game is perfectly suited to Copperleaf, where he finished inside the top 20 in 2011, and if his putting and chipping is on song, he shouldn’t be too far away from the lead come Sunday.
Ken Duke, at 200/1 with Ladbrokes, is a very good each way bet this week. He finished in a tie for fifth last year, and consistently ranks as one of the straightest drivers on tour. Indeed, he currently ranks fourth on the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy and first in Proximity to the Hole.
Tampa Bay Championship advised bets:
2pts each way on Sergio Garcia at 14/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Louis Oosthuizen at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Luke Guthrie at 50/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Zach Johnson at 80/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Ken Duke at 200/1 with Ladbrokes