Last week, we went into the final day with Jon Rahm-9 in 5th place and Sergio Garcia-6 in 14th place, both within a striking distance of the leader Justin Thomas who was -12 strokes. Rahm took over the lead on the back 9 but choked under pressure. At the end of the day, Rahm finished in 3rd place. We split out head to heads winning Adam Scott over Henrik Stenson but losing Woodland over Snedeker.
This week, we switch gears and get back to regular golf, with a regular cut, on a course that has some history! Let’s get back to our winning ways and cash another value pick in PGA!
Valspar Championships at Copperhead
The Valspar Championships is played at Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Florida. Palm Harbor, Florida is located on the western coast of Florida, 38 miles west of Tampa, Fl. The Copperhead course has hosted this event each year since it started in 2000. Larry Packard designed this course in 1970 putting an emphasis on shot location.
Copperhead is a par 71 course that measures 7300 yards. The course isn’t particularly long but will appear and play much longer due to the amount of doglegs on the course. There is a little bit of everything on this course that will force golfers to play cautious or end up in bad positions. There is some water, sand bunkers and lots of tree lined fairways making it one of the tougher courses on tour. Copperhead has a 3 hole stretch to finish the course that is referred to as the “The Snake Pit”. The Snake Pit consists of 2 long Par 4’s and a strategic Par 3.
Last year, Charl Schwartzel shot 7 under par to win the 2016 Valspar Championship. There have only been two golfers to win this tournament more than 1 times, KJ Choi in 2002 & 2006 and Retief Goosen in 2003 & 2009. Retief Goosen is the all time money leader in this tournament with over $2 million dollars in earnings.
Weather should not be a factor this week at Copperhead as the weatherman is calling for beautiful weather! There will be no weather allowance placed in our system this week.
- Thursday Mostly Sunny 81 degrees Winds NNE 8 mph
- Friday Sunny 80 degrees Winds SSW 6 mph
- Saturday Mostly Sunny 83 degrees Winds S 6 mph
- Sunday Mostly Sunny 82 degrees Winds S 8 mph
All weather factors are researched from www.weather.com
This tournament is routinely one of the weaker fields on tour. Currently, there are 144 pro’s scheduled to take the field in the Valspar Championship. The Valspar will feature 5 of the World Golf Ranking’s Top 20 and 8 of the World Golf Ranking’s Top 30. Last week, Henrik Stenson cost many gamblers by withdrawing on day 1 with a stomach virus. He will return this week and play in the Valspar for the 3rd time. Justin Thomas will play in the Valspar after he finished in 5th place last week at WGC Mexico. Thomas played lights out at the WGC and will look to continue his winning ways here in Florida. Patrick Reed will be teeing it up in Palm Harbor as well after a 61st place finish at the WGC Mexico. Matt Kuchar will play at Valspar after he finished 20th in the WGC. The final Top 20 golfer is Bubba Watson, who will be playing in the Valspar for the first time since 2011. No golfer has played this tournament more than Brian Gay, who will be making his 17th appearance in 18 years.
We will have a normal cut this week after friday with the top 70 plus ties making the cut.
There are some really long par 3’s and long par 4’s at Copperhead. There are also many tree lined fairways and doglegs so this week, it is of utmost importance to make sure you select golfers that can not only hit the ball but are accurate in their placement.
The top item we are focusing on this week is Strokes Gained: Tee To Green. This course is tight with trees on the fairway so strategically placing the ball we believe with be most important. In the past, big long drivers have been successful but so have shorter players that don’t hit the ball as far. The one thing that they all did well was placement.
The second attribute we will put the most weight in is driving accuracy. Have you noticed the trend here? We are really on placement this week as the research indicates good placement golfers do very well here. The final 3 attributes will be Strokes Gained: Putting, Par 3 Scoring and Par 5 Scoring. We will also increase our attributes a tad bit this week and put a little emphasis on Greens In Reg, making it 6 factors instead of our normal 5 factors.
*My top golfer is Charles Howell at 35/1. Howell is the highest ranked golfer in my system. He ranks Top 35 in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green, Par 3 Scoring, Par 5 Scoring, Strokes Gained: Putting and Greens or Fringe in Regulation. Howell has played at the Valspar 10 times dating back to 2005 and has made the cut 8/10 times. Howell finished 2nd in 2009, 5th last year, 6th in 2007, 10th in 2015, 14th in 2014 and 16th in 2005. Howell has played in 5 tournaments this year and made the cut in every year including a 2nd place finish at Farmer’s Open, 8th place finish at Sony Open, 12th at Careerbuilder, 15th at Genesis Open and a 52nd at The Honda Classic.
*My second golfer is Gary Woodland at 28/1. A lot of people are gonna look at Gary Woodland and immediately think “Long Ball Striker” but the fact is he is 18th in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green and is playing really good golf right now. Last week was the first time all year that he failed to reach the top 20 in a tournament. Woodland has a 2nd place finish at the Honda Classic, 5th place at AT&T Pebble Beach, 6th place at The Sony Open and 20th at Farmer’s Insurance Open. Woodland also had 1 missed cut at Waste Management Phoenix Open. If Woodland can get some accuracy to his shots off the tee, he will be tough in this tournament!
*My third golfer is Justin Thomas at 12/1. OK…..I know, not very beneficial to bet this guy at 8/1 but he is having a very good year and sets up nice for this course. He is the favorite of Valspar and rightfully so. He has 2 wins on the year and finished 5th last week at the WGC Mexico. Thomas ranked 5th in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green, 13th in Par 3 Scoring, 19th in Greens or Fringe in Regulation and 29th in Strokes Gained: Putting.
*My fourth golfer is Jim Furyk at 50/1. Let me just run off a few numbers to you. 1st, 2nd, 7th, 13th, 20th, 40th, 52nd……those are the last 7 place finishes that Jim Furyk has at Valspar! The guy is a beast with course history and is one of the most accurate drivers off the tee.
*My fifth golfer is Steve Stricker at 75/1. Stop laughing and hear me out. Stricker may not be the best golfer in the world but for whatever reason, he plays very good here at Valspar! He has a 4th place finish here in 2009, 7th in 2016, 8th in 2010 and 14th in 2008. Not bad huh? Did I mention he has made the cut this year in both tournaments he has played in and is coming in well rested. Did I mention he is 75/1 and if you don’t at least play something on this and he wins, you’re gonna kick yourself in your rear!
Head to Head
- Jim Furyk over Keegan Bradley -115
- Jason Dufner over Kevin Na -125