- West Virginia is the next stop on the PGA Tour
- Golf Insider has found 4 chances between $30 and $176
To get the golf ball rolling for this week we’re beginning with a trip to the US, West Virginia to be exact. Here we have the curtain-raiser to the 2019/20 season, the GREENBRIER CLASSIC.
Here’s a preview of the action in the “Mountain State”…
This event first appeared on the calendar in 2010 when it took the place of the Buick Open. And with little history behind it, and with a shifting place in the rota (last year it was held in early July, now it starts the new season in September), it tends to suffer in terms of attracting the game’s leading players – who are either resting up or starting to prepare for the different challenges that await them later in the year. So it doesn’t generally attract a stellar field but, that said, there’s still a smattering of familiar names in attendance this year mixed with a healthy number of tour graduates from the Korn Ferry Tour (previously the Web.com Tour).
It’s the Old White TPC in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia… so-called after the hotel of the same name which stood on the site for 60+ years. The course, designed by Charles McDonald, was first opened in 1914 and, modified as recently as 2013, now plays 7,292 yards over its par 70 layout. The area took a huge battering a couple of years ago, causing severe storm damage and a cancellation of the 2016 event, since when Keith Foster has overseen a major restoration that has preserved the original design and and hole configuration.
72-Hole Record – 258, Stuart Appleby (2010)
18-Hole Record – 59, Stuart Appleby (2010)
Past Winners – Kevin Na (2018), Xander Schauffele (2017), n/a (2016), Danny Lee (2015), Angel Cabrera (2014).
A standard field this week with 156 starters. Bryson DeChambeau is the $13 favourite.
A mixed bag for the players this week with Thursday looking the best of the four days (20% chance of rain), but the other three all having a fair probability of some rainfall. Anyway, the temperatures will be in the low 80s throughout the week and wind speeds will reach a high of just 5-6mph. So generally good scoring conditions.
Sungjae Im – $30 available
“The world and his wife expect Im to start winning on the PGA Tour soon, and then to win a lot more times. His rookie year in the big league saw him rack up a record number of high finishes, and the Korean – who plays more often than Vijay Singh used to! – starts off the 2019/20 season looking for a maiden win. This will come, and having followed him a couple of times before in fields lacking depth, this week in Greenbrier he’s faced with another weak field and a potentially low-scoring event. He must go close as his stats for last season were off the chart. Im just needs to get that first win and I can see him collecting plenty more. He looks better value than several other newbies at the top of the market and is worth betting this week.”
Kevin Na – $51 available
“Na is a horses-for-courses type of player and knows he can only win on certain tracks due to his lack of length. The Old White certainly falls into the category of venue that Na can win on, and he’s the reigning champion this week. Na also won the Charles Schwab Challenge in May on another course that favours strategic golf over the bombers, and he very much plans his schedule around certain weeks of the year like this one. This week is interesting in the sense that form has somewhat gone out of the window and we now have a mix on Korn Ferry Tour graduates and old PGA Tour journeymen. I think Na looks a solid bet at around 50’s due to his ability to play well on certain courses and he’s a multiple winner, unlike 99% of this field. He’s definitely worth a gamble at a decent price considering the field strength.”
Sam Burns – $101 available
“Burns had a decent first full season on tour last year registering three Top 10’s from 25 starts. He’ll definitely have learned a few things from his rookie year and will likely build on a successful first campaign. I watched him closely at the 3M Open at the back end of last season, and I was really impressed with what I saw. He finished 7th and ranked as the 4th best player in the field and looks a winner in waiting. I think he’ll hit the ground running this year as he makes his Greenbrier debut this week. I expect big things from the talented American and at triple figures he makes the staking plan with ease.”
Patton Kizzire – $176 available
“Kizzire is a habitual fast starter year-on-year and he looks an absolute steal at anywhere above 100/1. Kizzire started the 2017/18 season with two victories in his first six starts, and the year before he started the season with 2nd place at the Safeway Open. Last year he had three Top 15’s from his first six starts and looks likely to get off to another hot start this season. Kizzire struggled for a lot of last year but did find a bit of form at the end of the season, finishing 34th at the 3M Open and 13th at the Wyndham Championship. Hopefully he’s had a productive off season and is ready to do what he does best, and that’s play his best golf early in the campaign. He could prove to be an absolute gift at the prices quoted this week and I’m willing to take a gamble at 125/1+.”