Our man Jamie Worsley is back with his in-play update halfway through the US PGA Championship and he’s got three in-play betting tips for you to ponder…
US PGA Championship In-Play Tips:
- Min Woo Lee to beat Adam Svensson (EVS) – 2 pts
- Hideki Matsuyama to beat Max Homa (23/20) – 2 pts
- Double on Lee/Matsuyama 3.3/1 – 1 pt
After a frost-delay on Thursday morning caused a near two-hour delay to the start of the 105th PGA Championship at Oak Hill, it was pleasing to see them just about manage to complete round two in its entirety yesterday; in further weather-affected conditions that leave us with an interesting leaderboard heading into the weekend.
Current Standings (Top 9):
T1 – Scottie Scheffler (-5)
T1 – Viktor Hovland (-5)
T1 – Corey Conners (-5)
T4 – Justin Suh (-3)
T4 – Bryson DeChambeau (-3)
T6 – Brooks Koepka (-2)
T6 – Callum Tarren (-2)
T8 – Taylor Pendrith (-1)
T8 – Justin Rose (-1)
World #2 Scottie Scheffler co-leads the way, joined by ball-striking specialists Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners (our halfway trio of co-leaders at -5), as the course continued to play tough despite the predicted strong winds not quite arriving yesterday and the fire being taken out of the course because of rain-softened conditions.
Though with its thick rough, narrow fairways and small greens, Oak Hill has very much lived up to the expected difficulty that was predicted prior to the start of the event with just nine players currently sat under par. Top players such as Sam Burns, Cameron Young, Sungjae Im and reigning US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick have found the going too difficult and miss the cut; the likes of Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau amongst those narrowly making it through to play another 36.
Outside of that leading trio, the top of the leaderboard has an intriguing mixture of former major champions, including Scheffler, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka; mingled with the more surprise packages of former #1 amateur Justin Suh, Englishman Callum Tarren and Canada’s big-hitting Taylor Pendrith.
Rory McIlroy has fought back from a shaky start on Thursday to now sit 10th on level par and within striking distance of the leaders. Whilst undoubtedly the story of the week so far sees PGA Club Pro, Michael Block sat alongside Rory and others in 10th, earning himself a tee-time alongside 2013 US Open winner Justin Rose.
It’s been interesting to see how these best-performing players have gone about their business. It was widely expected before the start of the event that the driver would be a hugely important club but statistically it has proven far less important than approach play amongst the leading trio, who all rank
top 6 in approach compared to nobody better than 17th OTT so far. Though I do still expect strong-driving performances to litter the top of the leaderboard by Sunday evening.
Conditions are predicted to be treacherous tomorrow, with strong winds (gusts up to 60kmh) predicted, though more rain will mean the course maintains its receptiveness. However, it’s difficult to be confident in these forecasts after the difference in what transpired yesterday.
Patrick Cantlay is our best chance heading into the weekend, sitting in 19th on +1, following a disappointing opening 74 with a 67 yesterday; Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith also make the cut but are very much in need of a big move tomorrow to get into the mix.
I was tempted to get involved in the outright market with this less than desirable position but with the unpredictability of the weather I’ve decided to avoid it. If the toughest of that weather arrives tomorrow it may spell chaos and most who make the cut could find themselves still in-play. Therefore I’ll reassess our position and the outright market again after tomorrow’s 3rd round and before the final round on Sunday.
I have instead picked out a couple of fancies in the two-balls market for today.
We have some rather eye-catching 2-ball matchups today, including the current Masters and Open Champions going head-to-head, Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith; Rory McIlroy is paired with friend Shane Lowry; whilst former “enemies” Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau tee-off together, both well placed for a major charge.
All of these matches would be a little too close to call for me and the first to appeal scrolling down the list of matchups today is Australia’s Min Woo Lee to get the better of Canada’s Adam Svensson.
Min Woo Lee to beat Adam Svensson
Both sit tied for 10th at level-par after the opening two days, as Lee bounced back from a tough opening 75 in round one to shoot a 3-under 67 yesterday and Svensson has maintained solidity throughout, firing two level-par rounds in a row. Though it’s the uber-talented Australian that I’m expecting to kick on from this point of the tournament.
The makeup of the two players’ games over the opening two days have shown similarities with both of them excelling most with the driver and putter; Lee ranking 1st on the greens and 11th with driver and Svensson 22nd on the greens and 5th with driver. Though it’s the excess power of Lee that I expect to be telling on this course which should remain receptive today with that further forecasted rain.
Not only the driver and putter that puts me on Lee here but his electric short-game – ranking top 20 in this field over the last twelve months – is going to be a serious advantage on a day where if the strong winds materialize, greens are going to continue being missed by the bucket-load.
His superior major record, that saw him finish top 30 in three of the four in 2022 – compared to Svensson’s one and only appearance coming this year at Augusta, where he missed the cut – is another boost and something I’m expecting to take him on to managing these weekend major conditions at Oak Hill better than his Canadian counterpart.
Hideki Matsuyama to beat Max Homa
There’s still 36 holes to go but so far it’s looking like another disappointing major appearance for Max Homa. Not only is he eight back in 35th but everything positive he’s done so far this week has come
from the putter and I’m taking the much more solid tee-to-green player this week and proven major performer, Hideki Matsuyama to get the better of him in round three.
That reliance on the putter is evidenced by Homa ranking an impressive 3rd on the greens so far this week, though this is countered by him being the second-worst player in the field tee-to-green of those who have made the cut. Meanwhile, whilst Hideki hasn’t yet fired with the driver or putter, he’s been strong in approach, ranking 9th and typically strong around-the-greens, ranking 25th, leading to him being the 28th best player of the cut-makers tee-to-green.
Though Homa was 8th at Quail Hollow last time out, Matsuyama’s recent form leading into this has been the more solid, reeling off five cuts in a row and hitting the top 25 on his last three starts, including a 16th at Augusta for the former Masters winner. An effort alone that betters the majority of Homa’s major performances and unless Max can find something T2G today, I expect the Japanese star to put some distance between himself and the likeable Californian.
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