Sam Tremlett runs the rule over some USPGA Championship outsiders who have a chance of doing something special at Bellerive Country Club.
USPGA Championship outsiders worth backing
The USPGA Championship is usually the most unpredictable Major of the year – a product of the diverse nature of the field and the familiar courses over which it’s contested.
Indeed, a quick glance at the list of recent past winners brings up names such as Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, YE Yang and Keegan Bradley.
This year, the vast majority of the field might not have that much experience of playing at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri because it has not featured that often on the PGA Tour. The last tournament held there was the 2013 Senior PGA Championship and before that the 2008 BMW Championship.
But which USPGA Championship outsiders could fare well this year in Missouri? Let’s investigate…
Alex Noren – 51/1 with SportNation
Time and time again Alex Noren is consistently proving that he is a player that turns up for big tournaments. In 2018 he has seldom missed a cut and has produced good results at the Honda Classic, WGC-Dell Technologies Matchplay, the BMW PGA Championship and won at the 2018 Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National at the HNA Open de France. In the last two majors he has also had a tied 25th at the US Open and a tied 17th at The Open Championship.
Statistically Noren is very strong indeed, regularly appearing in the top 10 in putting on the PGA Tour. His scoring average is also 69.8 which firmly entrenches him in the top-20 on the tour. A dangerous player in any tournament.
Phil Mickelson – 67/1 with SportNation
A player who frequently performs under pressure, Mickelson has still not guaranteed a spot at the 2018 Ryder Cup yet and he will look to have a good result at Bellerive to remind Jim Furyk that he can still play at the highest level.
A 2018 winner at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Mickelson’s putting this year has been sublime and currently the only player who has a better strokes gained statistic than him is Jason Day. He has also only missed two cuts this year so we expect to see him near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
Kevin Kisner – 101/1 with SportNation
Kisner should be brimming with confidence coming off his best finish at a Major Championship recently at the Open Championship. A tied 2nd, he looked in complete control the entire week until a tough final day meant he shot a final day round of +3. He may not be the longest hitter which could hamper him in Missouri, but his putting is usually good and that saves a lot of shots at the PGA Championship regardless of the course.
A cool head and no significant weakness to his game, the American will be looking for a big win to get himself into the Ryder Cup team.
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Brian Harman – 151/1 with SportNation
Yes his last win came at the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship and he missed the cut at The Open, however Harman is usually a steady, consistent performer. He has eight top-10s this year, a number only bettered by Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, and Justin Rose. His putting is usually consistent too and is frequently in the top 20 in strokes gained putting. And finally he has been in contention in a Major before at the 2017 US Open so the feeling would not be foreign to him. Learning from that experience cannot be understated in its importance.
The only thing that might be damaging to his chances is his length because he is not the longest hitter out there so he may struggle to hit some of the par-5’s in two. But if he plays smart, plots his layups and holes some putts, he could be a dark horse come Sunday.
Ryan Fox – 201/1 with SportNation
At a course that favours length, the longer hitter is at a distinct advantage and Ryan Fox is one of the longest on either tour. Currently he sits fifth on the European Tour with an average of 317 yards off the tee and nearly picked up his first victory on the European Tour in 2018 after narrowly losing to Russell Knox in a playoff at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. He played solidly at The Open Championship this year producing a tied-39th place, and he also came in 41st place at his very first US Open earlier this year too. Who knows maybe he will shock the world like many others have in the PGA Championship.
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