GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of The Players Championship this week.
The Players Championship | 12th-15th March 2020 | Sky Sports
After clinching Tyrrell Hatton's maiden PGA Tour victory, we follow him to TPC Sawgrass for the year's edition of The Players Championship – also known as the unofficial fifth major, also known as the best event in golf. I
love this event – but due to a lack of time this week, I can only apologise for such a short write up.
- TPC Sawgrass
- Par 72 – 7,189 yards
- Pete Dye design
- Bermuda fairways, greens
- Iconic 17th hole
- Well rounded course; dog-legged; a true test
- Water and wind the threat
- Off-the-tee game: big hitters have a marginal edge but shorter players have won this event. It's more about placement and putting the ball in the right spots.
- Dye wants players to flirt with the risk, so only the very best accurate ball-strikers can do so
- Approach game
- Scrambling: must be able to get up and down if they miss a green
- Florida form
- Form on other Dye courses
- Wyndham, API, Honda, Wells Fargo, Genesis, Memorial, TPC Boston all correlated too.
Bryson Dechambeau (22/1 Coral)
Usually one of the top players who are rounding into nice form takes this competition – not always – but it is a good reason to side with someone from the front of the market.
I like Bryson Dechambeau most. He's due another win on Tour and is trending in the right direction – T5 (Genesis) – 2nd (WGC Mexico) – 4th (API). All of which has seen him in the top-5 for ball-striking and is hitting good numbers for OTT, DA and so on. He's the scientist after all.
Marc Leishman (45/1 SkyBet)
Next up is last week's runner-up, Aussie Marc Leishman. His best finish round here is only a T8 and he's been pretty ordinary aside from that, but his performance last week shows he could contend once again.
Leish has always done well at the API, a tournament he's won too. He's got a sharp iron game matched by a phenomenal scrambling ability, and can also hold his own in the wind.
Gary Woodland (45/1 SkyBet)
The US Open champion ticks everything we need here, it's as simple as that. Very strong off the tee, very strong with his irons…it's only a matter of time before the putting and everything else comes together and he storms a leaderboard.
It could well be around here. Six top-12 in his last nine events. He just needs it to fall into place.
Matt Kuchar (50/1 Betfair)
For me, Matt Kuchar is the best value play of the week.
50/1, 10 places, in-form, and clearly loves the course – he has won here and finished 3rd in recent years. He's also a runner-up at another Dye track (Hilton Head).
Since winning in Singapore – his third crown since 2018 – he has had a runner-up at the Genesis and a couple of top-25s, which were only marred by one poor round. He's in hot form and I'm happy to take the punt considering the number of places on offer.
Byeong Hun An (66/1 Betfair)
Likewise, with Benny An, a supreme ball-striker whose putting lets him down time and time again. He loves it in Florida and especially this target-like golf – top-5s at Wyndham and the PGA National. Also has popped at other Dye designs like Hilton Head and TPC Louisiana.
Top-10s in his last few Florida starts make the 10 places at Betfair an absolute must. He completes a relatively narrow staking plan, but hopefully it brings us even more success.
The Players Championship – Bryson Dechambeau (22/1 each-way Coral)
The Players Championship – Marc Leishman (45/1 each-way SkyBet)
The Players Championship – Gary Woodland (45/1 each-way SkyBet)
The Players Championship – Matt Kuchar (50/1 each-way Betfair)
The Players Championship – Byeong Hun An (66/1 each-way Betfair)