The big guns are out in force on the PGA Tour this week for the prestigious Players Championship, with the world’s top 50 all in the field for the so-called ‘fifth major’, Phil Casey writes.
That is reflected in the Players Championship odds with Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas joint favourites at 16/1, with world number one Dustin Johnson and 2015 champion Rickie Fowler not far behind.
But when we consider the fact that last year’s event was won by Si Woo Kim and Ian Poulter tied for second, it is arguably not simply a case of looking at the top of the market to identify a winner.
And with that in mind, the first of our Players Championship betting tips is American Kyle Stanley, who can be backed in the each-way market at 80/1.
Stanley shared the 54-hole lead 12 months ago before fading to fourth place after a disappointing closing 75, but seven weeks later won his second PGA Tour title in the Quicken Loans National.
That was achieved in a play-off against Charles Howell after the pair had finished tied on seven under par and Stanley seems to thrive on courses which don’t require winning totals of 20 under or better.
Stanley is also in good form this season after reaching the quarter-finals of the WGC Match Play and finished inside the top 15 in last week’s Wells Fargo Championship.
Also available at 80/1 is rising Australian star Cameron Smith, who was fourth on his US Open debut in 2015 and fifth in the Masters in April.
Smith missed the cut on his debut in the Players Championship last year but has clearly demonstrated his ability to compete on the toughest courses and it is only a matter of time before he claims a solo PGA Tour title to add to his 2017 Zurich Classic win alongside Jonas Blixt.
The last two winners at Sawgrass have finished top of the scrambling statistics for the week and with that in mind, our third Players Championship selection is Louis Oosthuizen, even though he let us down with a missed cut last week.
Oosthuizen is third in scrambling on the PGA Tour this season and finished second at Sawgrass last year after a disappointing weekend, but at 66/1 in the each-way market he can be chanced again.
And for a total outsider, our final selection is a small each-way bet at 250/1 on William McGirt, who was just outside the top 20 last year and occupies a similar position in the scrambling stats.
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