We are at the half way stage of the PGA Championship, and we have had some surprisingly low scoring golf to watch. Jason Dufner is leading on -9, 2 shots clear of a three way tie at 2nd (Scott, Kuchar and Furyk).
The general belief is that over the weekend the course will dry out, instead of playing so soft as it has over the first 2 rounds (because of the heavy rain). Due to this it wouldn’t surprise me if the winning score at the end of Sunday was higher than -10 (on the assumption that the course will dry out).
I gave 5 picks before the tournament started, and I am just going to give a quick update before I go onto the new betting tips. I tipped Dufner (who just happens to be leading and playing amazing golf), Zach Johnson (-1, T-22 [little disappointed thought he would have done better, but not out of it, however will need to shoot around a 65 to be in contention on the last day]), Francesco Molinari (E, T-29 [similar opinions to Johnson]), Branden Grace & Paul Lawrie (MC [I was struggling for value and I thought these two maybe had a chance of doing something under the radar, I was wrong]).
I really thought that this tournament was going to be Woods; he was so good at Firestone how could he possibly lose that form in just a week. Well somehow he managed to do it and is currently wallowing on +1 in T-39th. I said that 3/1 (although I seen him later in the week at 4/1) was dreadful value, but I expected him to be so much better than this, to say I am disappointed in how he has played (or more so how he has putted) would be an understatement. You can pick him up at 50/1 if you are so inclined, but unless he works a miracle and shoots 65 on both days he won’t have a chance, I wouldn’t touch him.
So overall not that great, but I guess you can’t complain when you have the leader. Anyway onto the half-way value tips for the PGA Championship. All odds are from Bet 365 and are subject to change, and I would recommend betting at each way where you will receive 1/5 odds for 4 places.
Steve Stricker 25/1
The old man of golf has had another very solid major tournament so far, shooting a 68 and a 67 to sit on -5 in T-7th. Stricker has limited the number of tournaments he has played this year (even skipping the Open); so as to stay competitive at the top of the game and it seems to have had the desired effect. Stricker has done what Stricker does and played nice steady golf and hit greens and fairways, making as few mistakes as are possible.
Obviosuly Stricker has never won a major before and that is a concern, as is the fact that he is 46 (only three players have ever won a major over the age of 46). However there is one thing you can rely on Stricker doing and that is playing good steady golf, and at only 4 shots off the lead (and only 6 in front of him) he is very much in the hunt and at 25/1 is great value.
Martin Kaymer 33/1
The 2010 PGA Champion is for the first time since winning the trophy actually playing the weekend and is also very much competing. With two rounds of 68 already on the card, Kaymer has played some steady golf (no bogeys in 2nd round) which is required to win majors. He currently is on -4 (T-9th) and much like Stricker has put himself in a position to challenge over the weekend. Unlike Stricker however, he has won a major before (this one) and there is no doubt about his bottle and ability to go out and win another one.
The biggest concern about Kaymer is that he hasn’t actually won a tournament since 2011 and sometimes it can be hard to get over the line after not winning for so long. However Kaymer did play well last week at Firestone (T-9th) so is on good form coming into the PGA and at 33/1 and only 5 behind the leader (3 behind 2nd) he is well placed heading into the weekend and is good value also.
Sergio Garcia 40/1
I didn’t fancy Garcia this week, but he has surprised me with two good rounds of 69 and 68, leaving him on -3 and in T-13th. There are not many players who are as good tee to green as Garcia, and playing like this is vital at Oak Hill. I haven’t seen that much of Garcia so far this week, he has flown under the radar and managed to post two solid scores which have put him into contention.
We all know that Garcia has the ability to win a major championship, and the fact he still hasn’t won one is quite shocking. However we also all know that Garcia does not have the best bottle and is a dreadful putter (especially over short putts, which are killers). We will get one of two Garcia’s, either the confident Garcia that is ready to take on the world or the down in the dumps Garcia who gets upset over the littlest of things. At 40/1 Garcia is a player who has the ability to go out and score well and close the gap, but is more likely going to win if he backs into it which is also a possibility. This is the championship where Garcia announced himself on the world stage, is it also the championship he wins his first major? He will be in the mix and at 40/1 and only 6 shots back is a good value bet.
If you are looking at more outside bets with higher odds, then you should be looking at Zach Johnson (-1, 125/1), Rickie Fowler (-2, 100/1), Jason Day (-2, 66/1) or Lee Westwood (-1, 66/1); all of whom could easily go out tomorrow and score low on a course which has shown that if you play well then you can shoot a good score. I doubt that any of these guys have a chance though (unless they do something miraculous) because I expect the course to play harder and there are also a lot of players between them and Dufner (not just one man running away with it, who could blow it). Dufner is actually a fairly nice 7/2, not bad for a man who just broke the course record and is leading the championship by 2, but his last couple of putts were worrisome and I imagine (much to my dismay) that if he is to lead into the last round, he will need at least a 3 shot cushion going through the last handful of holes to avoid his nerves getting in the way of his play.
Let me know about players who you think are in with a chance heading into the weekend or any players you think I have missed out on. All comments are welcome.