The last Major of the year is here already! Who is going to join Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson as a Major winner in 2013?
We head to Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York for the 95th PGA Championship which is being played on the East Course. It is a Par 70, 7163 yard course with bentgrass greens that will be running at 12 on the stimpmeter.
The East Course has narrow tree lined fairways with two Par 5’s and four Par 3’s with plenty of bunkers and water hazards coming into play. Phil Mickelson said during a practise round that the thick rough was some of the toughest he had seen at a Major.
This week will be about accuracy off the tee and keeping the ball in play. If you stick it in the rough expect to be under pressure trying to make Par. Players will need to have a good scrambling game if they hope to be successful at Oak Hill this week.
The Bookies Top 5 in betting this week are- 4/1 Tiger Woods- Justified as the favourite with five wins this season from eleven starts, 16/1 Phil Mickelson- Open Champion, 16/1 Adam Scott- Masters Champion, 24/1 Henrik Stenson- 2nd Open Championship and 25/1 Justin Rose- US Open Champion.
So who fits the bill this week? I have the usual two players to follow and have included a long shot selection for those that like to trade on the exchanges.
Zach Johnson 45/1
When it comes to a player in form you can not go past Zach this week. His last three tournaments have been 2nd John Deere Classic (lost in a playoff), T6th The Open Championship and T4th WGC Bridgestone Classic.
This season he has been playing some fantastic golf. Johnson has made 15 cuts from 19 starts and posted 7 Top 25’s and 4 Top 10’s. In the three Majors this year he was T35th Masters, Missed Cut US Open and T6th Open Championship.
At last weeks WGC Bridgestone Invitational where he finished T4th he was ranked 1st in fairways hit, 12th in greens in regulation and 5th in strokes gained putting. If he can continue is current form and maintain the same standard of statistics then there is no reason why Zach can not win his second Major title.
Henrik Stenson 24/1
If there is a player who deserves to win a Major this year that person has to be Henrik. He is having one of his best seasons in years. Stenson started the season ranked 61st in the World and heading into this week he is now 11th.
From 20 starts this year he has made 18 cuts and produced 7 Top 10’s. Highlights have included T8th Arnold Palmer, T2nd Shell Houston Open and T5th Players Championship. Then you look at his Majors record this year. T18th Masters, T21st US Open and 2nd Open Championship.
If that is not enough to get you excited, have a look at his last four tournament results. T10th BMW International Open, T3rd Scottish Open, 2nd Open Championship and T2nd WGC Bridgestone Invitational. There are not many players who can boast those types of numbers.
His stats also hold up very well for this tournament. 6th in driving accuracy, 2nd in greens in regulation, 7th in scoring average, 2nd in ball striking and 1st in scrambling from the rough.
Expect to see him up near the top of the leader board heading into the weekend. From there he should be in the firing line to go one better than he did in The Open Championship.
LONG SHOT SELECTION- Matt Jones 200/1
Matt gets the honour of being the long shot selection this week. And the reasons are pretty simple. His last two tournaments have put him on the watch list. T2nd The Greenbrier Classic and T7th John Deere Classic. You can also add in a T6th Memorial Tournament at the start of July.
After starting the season as the World No.451 he has motored up the rankings to be No.141 as we head into this weeks event.
HIs stats also fair well for this course. 47th in driving accuracy, 50th in greens in regulation, 60th in strokes gained putting, 5th in total driving, 10th in all round ranking, 21st in ball striking, 3rd in scrambling and 6th in scrambling from the rough.
Those scrambling and driving stats should see him play well on a course that is sure to claim its fair share of victims.
Good Luck and Good Punting.