Winner’s Share: $1,242,000
It’s been a crazy few weeks at DownThe18th and we’ve got plenty of videos to show you over the coming weeks! But we’re finally back, resuming service as usual. Last week The Players turned out to be a thrilling watch as Martin Kaymer won his 2nd PGA Tour event. His other win was a certain PGA Championship. But onto this week and we find ourselves at TPC Four Seasons.
The 7,166yard par 70 features large undulating greens, several ponds, high and strategically placed bunkers and tight tree-lined fairways. What will be the major factor this week is the wind. If it stays calm out there the course will play very easy with low scoring a must. If the wind blows then the accurate grinders will come into their own.
Looking at the weather, the winds are likely to get up with 17mph gusts expected on the Sunday. So despite the short yardage, the course looks like it is going to be playing difficult. So we will be looking at driving accuracy, GIR and putting. Any wind specialists will need to be looked at. It is more often than not that in windy conditions, your winner comes from further down the field. So do not be scared at looking at people with higher odds.
Jimmy Walker (22/1 BetFred)
It is hard to envisage yet another Jimmy Walker win on the PGA Tour but we can’t help but think he is going to contend at the very least this week. And TPC Four Seasons is pretty much in Walker’s back yard being just an hour’s flight from his home in San Antonio.
There’s no need to bang on about how impressive his 3 wins have been in this wrap around season. Understandably after those crazy few months, Walker dropped off the pace slightly (He was still comfortably in the top 25 most weeks). But after his T8 at the Masters and then a T6 last week, we feel he is about to strike once more. He ranked T9 in GIR and 1st in putting around Sawgrass and if there is one thing we know about Walker when he putts well, he usually wins.
One of Walker’s wins came at the outrageously windy Pebble Beach pro-am, proving he can definitely handle the windy conditions as well.
Paul Casey (66/1 Paddy Power)
Paul Casey is rather reminiscent of Martin Kaymer. Like the German, he went off the radar for a few years but re-established himself last year at the Irish Open with a very convincing victory. It is tracks like this where Casey, one of the best drivers of the ball, will have advantage over the rest of the field. He is a very competent player in the wind and has been slowly finding his feet on the PGA Tour once again (His only PGA Tour win came back in 2009).
The Englishman has been lurking in America for a few weeks now and we feel a win is very close. He was T11 at the Zurich Classic and T18 at the RBC Heritage last month. Not since 2011 has Paul recorded 4 top 25 finishes. There’s not much to talk about regarding his PGA Tour statistics although he does rank 2nd in proximity to the hole.
Pat Perez (66/1 BetVictor)
The man from Arizona has been consistently on the top pages of leaderboards this year. His ironplay in particular has been sublime and will work perfectly around TPC Four Seasons. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag in previous years here, with a best finish of 9th two years ago. But we feel Perez is in the grove once more and his competent wind play has pretty much forced us to back him.
Although he finished T48 last week at Sawgrass he ranked T22 and T21 in driving accuracy and GIR respectively. And combine this with 10th strokes gained-putting on the Tour, he certainly catches the eye at these odds. He also recorded a T7 in the very windy Pebble Beach pro-am earlier this year.
Justin Hicks (80/1 BetVictor)
Hicks is one of those players who you could back every week because he regularly tops all of the stats leaderboards. So why this week? Well, we’ve seen people like Kevin Stadler and Ken Duke win in recent months and they were exactly the same – never really fancied and yet fit the bill most weeks. So what is Justin all about? He ranks 6th driving accuracy, 4th GIR, T44 strokes gained-putting and T49 proximity to the hole. Last week at The Players, he ranked 3rd driving accuracy and 1st GIR. They almost seem too obvious but he just cannot be ignored.
In the American’s two performances at this tournament since the turn of the century, he has finished 14th and 21st. He fits the bill to be a maiden winner this year, it’s just whether it will be this week or not!