Jon Rahm heads into the event as the early favourite as he continues his pursuit of his first tournament win of 2022, but our resident golf writer David Kristiansen has his eye on two other names in particular as he previews the week in California.
Course: Stadium Course at PGA West
Length: 7200 yards (Par 72)
Architect: Pete Dye
After an altered format last year due to Covid, we are now back to the three-course rotation and pro-am format which of course means a 54-hole cut and long rounds because of obscure “celebrities” that no cares about.
The Stadium Course, which they will play two rounds at, is a par 72, so being efficient on the four par 5s will be essential, as will staying out of the many water hazards present throughout the course.
With many of the par 4s being on the medium to short side, look out for players that excel with their wedges and short irons.
All three courses are on the shorter side and with a normal winning score in the mid-twenties under par, we are looking at another week where short iron play and a hot putter will be important ingredients for victory.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/out for:
- Par 5 scoring
- Opportunities gained
- Bermuda putting
- Strokes gained approach
- Proximity 150-175 yards
- Strokes gained off the tee
- Fairways gained
2019-20 season: +35.61 units , ROI: 121%
2020-21 season: +170,92 units, ROI: 148%
Wagered: 44 units
Won: 49.58 units
Result: 5.58 units
Russell Henley 36,00 2 pts EW (1/4 the odds 5 places)
Henley looked a sure thing to pick up his 4th victory after leading by five at the turn on Sunday, but a birdie-free back nine and a soaring Hideki Matsuyama crushed his chances.
I am normally not a big Henley backer, but this is simply too big a number on someone who obviously is in excellent form – he ranks 1st on general approaches and proximity from the key 150-175 yard range.
It’s also an interesting trend that the last two times he had a T3 finish, he came back in the next event with a 4th and a 9th, so he doesn’t seem to be too flustered by a close call.
The one negative is his bad record here, but on paper this course should be set up perfectly for his strengths, so his past here doesn’t worry me too much.
Hayden Buckley 126,00 0,5 pts EW (1/4 the odds 5 places)
The young American seems to have taken to tour life fast and as of now looks the most likely of this year’s rookie class to break through early in the year with a win.
In his first six starts he has produced two top 10s and started the calendar year last week with a solid T12 after gaining in all four major categories.
We of course have a small amount of data on him, but he seems to thrive on an easier course, putts well on Bermuda greens and when you add that he ranks in the top 20 both off the tee and on approach we could very well be witnessing the start of a very impressive career.
So, what better spot to jump on board then before his odds get slashed in half, if his gradual rise continues.
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