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Adam Hadwin plays a tee shot on the ninth hole during a continuation of the first round of The Players Championship on March 12, 2022 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)
March 16th, 2022
After a chaotic edition of The Players Championship that ended on Monday instead of Sunday, we're onto one of my favorite under-the-radar tournaments of the year, the Valspar Championship. The event is conducted on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida, and it offers golfers a very stiff challenge to close out the Florida swing on the PGA Tour calendar.
Last year’s champion, Sam Burns, is amongst those in the field for the 2022 Valspar Championship, but he meets arguably the best group the event has ever attracted. Burns was right in the mix heading into the final round of The Players, but struggled on Monday afternoon, costing him tens of thousands of dollars. I respect his game and success at this golf course, but have no desire to back him as the defending champion at his current odds (+2200) on TwinSpires Sports’ outright market.
Viktor Hovland and Justin Thomas both played well last week at TPC Sawgrass, and sit atop the outright market at +900. Both golfers have games that fit just about any course and are more than capable of hoisting the trophy at Innisbrook this week, but I'm slightly concerned with the lack of rest after a grueling week in Ponte Vedra Beach. I will pass on them given the lack of value. Here are a few wagers I am diving in on this week at the Valspar:
Like many that were part of the PM/AM wave last week at The Players, Fitzpatrick failed to make the cut, but I am willing to toss the result instead of holding against him. He just struggled to make putts. I do not expect that to be the case this week, where his game fits the course perfectly. His iron play and ability to score on par 5’s make him a great option at what I consider extremely fair value. Look for a big bounce back week from the 27-year-old Englishman.
Matthew Fitzpatrick hits from the 4th hole tee during the first round of The Genesis Invitational golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
The 34-year-old Canadian has just one victory on the PGA Tour, but it came over this track back in 2017, which is not surprising since his game is tailor made for the Copperhead Course. His ability to avoid big numbers and putt effectively on these greens is highly advantageous, and his iron play is as good as it has been in years. Hadwin comes in off a strong Top 10 performance at The Players, where he gained over four strokes on approach and almost six strokes on the greens. His confidence is high and his game is on point. Expect him to be in the mix from start-to-finish.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa lines up a putt during The Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire)
Oosthuizen appeared poised for a big run over the weekend at The Players, but just did not have it on Monday. I expect him to play well though in Palm Harbor this week. His ball striking is elite and he is one of the better putters in the field. I am willing to take on the defending champion, who was carried by a hot flatstick all weekend at TPC Sawgrass. I would not be against a Louie Top 5 wager as well (+150).
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