The Valspar Championship is the last tournament in Florida this season and is three weeks from the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. The tournament is slotted in the perfect spot on the PGA TOUR calendar to attract a strong field, which includes the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked golfers in the world taking a crack at the Copperhead Course.
This course will be challenging, ranking sixth toughest (out of 51) in scoring relative to par the previous two years (2018, 2019). Like most courses in Florida, wind and water hazards will be a factor this week. Mix that in with undulations not usually seen on Florida courses, along with a few tricky par 4s, five par 3s and the Snake Pit, and you’ll start to see why winning scores average around 10-under par over the last few years.
Over the previous five years, the average winning odds were just under +4500, with the longest coming from Adam Hadwin at +12500 in 2017 and the shortest coming from Jordan Spieth at +1600 two years prior.
Hovland’s number seems inflated at first glance, but he’s playing well enough to warrant consideration at this number. Yes, he doesn’t have the same win equity as his peers in this range, and Dustin Johnson at +1100 isn’t an auto-fade with how significant his upside is, especially after gaining 5.1 strokes OTT. Still, Hovland is gaining an average of 1.7 strokes Tee-to-Green over the previous 12 rounds and plays well in difficult scoring conditions. Sungjae Im at +2800 will always make the list when we’re on bermuda in Florida. Like his win at the Honda Classic, Im has proven to play well in these scoring conditions and is coming off a 3.5 SG: Approach performance at the RBC Heritage.
Editor’s note: Tyrrell Hatton has withdrawn from the Valspar Championship after testing positive for COVID-19.
Like Sungjae, Hatton has the propensity to play well in difficult scoring conditions, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational, another challenging Florida course. Hatton has been underwhelming this calendar year, with his best finish coming at the 2021 Masters, finishing 18th. Hatton isn’t playing poorly but hasn’t panned out for those betting him, which is why we’re getting a good number on the 8th-ranked player in the world. Hatton ranks sixth in SG: Ball-Striking over his previous 12 rounds.
As mentioned in the DraftKings Preview article, Gooch has been hitting his irons very well and finished Top 5 at THE PLAYERS Championship a little bit ago. He ranks 43rd in good drives gained, inside the top 40 in par 4 efficiency from 400 to 450 yards and second in SG: Approach over his last 12 rounds.
Another solid ball-striking outing for Burns last week at the Zurich Classic is a good sign, albeit a small one, that his game is coming back into form. Burns has gained with his irons in three straight tournaments and should be on the shortlist of players in this range who could play well on a difficult course with how he played at Riviera CC a couple of months ago.
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