There are three courses being played in this tournament this week.
La Quinta Country Club – Par 72, 7060 yards and has four par fives in total. It also has tree lined fairways which are not particularly narrow, with some water features that come into play. The greens are Bermuda grass and this course tends to be the hardest of the three.
PGA West (Palmer Private) – Par 72, 6,930 yards and has a total of five par fives. This course is played twice including the final round and has a lot of trees, streams and lakes that come into play. The fairways are quite forgiving and shouldn’t be too difficult to hit. The greens are also Bermuda grass and are also quite large, so expect some low scoring on this short course.
Nicklaus Private at PGA West – Par 72, 6,924 yards. This is a little trickier than the other two in that it has undulations on the fairways which could throw up some tricky lies. The fairways are also very forgiving with large greens, two of which are island greens, but shouldn’t be a problem for the players in that they are also quite big.
All three of these golf courses are ranked among the easiest courses by PGA Tour standards with the average score of the winner around the 25 under mark. Also keep in mind that this is a Pro-Am for the first three rounds so pin positions will be in favourable locations to cater for the higher handicapped players. With this, the pro’s will be taking full advantage so be on the lookout for good birdie average stats and good putters.
With the pro’s playing about 18 par 5’s this week, five of which are on Palmer Private and they play it twice, players with good par 5 scoring stats tend to go well here. It’s also worth checking good approach stats and GIR. Players that have had a good week at The Sony tend to go well here as most of the cobwebs are dusted off. Any players that finished in the top 20 last week, and have played well here in the past, should be worth considering. It’s a tough one to call so approach with caution.
Patrick Reed 12/1
After a superb win at The Hyundai two weeks ago, Patrick Reed will come into this week well rested after taking last week off to be with his family. He was steady as a rock for the four rounds in Kapalua shooting 67,69,68,67 to finish on 21 under par for the week, beating Jimmy Walker on the first playoff hole.
Reed won this tournament last year, which saw him opening with three 63’s and a final round 71 to beat Ryan Palmer by two strokes on 28 under par. He has been showing some good consistency finishing T22 at The WGC HSBC in Shanghai, T3 at The Hero World Challenge and a win in Kapalua in his last three events. He ranks second in strokes gained tee to green, third in approaches from 100-125, first in approaches from 175-200 and 13th in par 4 scoring. After a great win in Kapalua and a superb performance here last year, Patrick Reed could well defend this title this week.
Ryan Palmer 22/1
Palmer has been playing well so far this season with a T22 at The WGC HSBC, a T9 at The Franklin Templeton Shootout and a respectable T17 last week at The Sony, which included three 69’s and a second round 63. He also has a great record at this event over the last few years finishing second last year to Patrick Reed, T6 in 2013 and solo fourth in 2011.
He ranks fifth in strokes gained putting, ninth in scoring average, eighth in approaches from 75-100 and 12th in approaches from inside 100 yards. Palmer also ranks first in total putting and sixth in putts from 10-15 feet. With a lot of the par 4’s and par 5’s being short, good approach stats will be key this week. With good putting stats and a good record in this event, Ryan Palmer could be another man to watch here.
Brendon Todd 33/1
Brendan Todd has had a mixed bag of results so far this season but hasn’t missed a cut yet. He played very well at The Hyundai in Kapalua and was unlucky not to finish better than T8. I thought he hit the ball great off the tee and hit some superb iron shots from around 150 yards out. The only part of his game that let him down was the putter missing some very makeable birdie chances between 6-10 feet, that just slid by.
He played reasonably well last week at The Sony shooting four rounds in the 60’s finishing on six under par in T44 for the week. He had a solid performance here last year finishing T6. Todd ranks 17th in approaches from 175-200 and 11th in approaches from 150-175, which should be two ideal stats for the short par 4’s and par 5’s.
Charley Hoffman 40/1
With such a good record in this event since 2007, its hard to rule out Charley Hoffman this week. He won here in 2007 and has a further three top 10 finishes, including a top 20, in his last eight appearances. After a win in 2007, he followed that with a T8 in 2008, T18 in 2009, T10 in 2013 and a T9 last year, which included an opening round 64.
He is having a good season and already has a win tucked away in the trophy cabinet, which came at The OHL Classic in November. He followed that with a respectable T14 in Kapalua finishing on 13 under par. Hoffman ranks 17th in GIR, 17th in approaches from 100 yards and 16th in approaches from 200 yards. With great current form and a good record at this event, it could be another good week for Charley Hoffman.
Jerry Kelly 80/1
Jerry Kelly is on a good run of form at the moment with three top 10’s in his last three starts. His good form began back at The Sanderson Farms Championship back in November where he finished T22 on seven under par for the tournament. He then followed that with a solo fifth at The OHL Classic and a T5 at The Franklin Templeton Shootout. Most recently, he played well last week at The Sony finishing T6, which included a second round 62 and a final round 66 to finish on 12 under par.
Kelly has played well here in the past with two top 15’s in his four appearances at this event. He also played well here in 2005 finishing T8. He finished T13 last year and T13 again in 2011. With great current form and good performances in the past, Jerry Kelly is certainly worth a small few quid each way.
Final Selections –
Patrick Reed 12/1 2 pts EW
Ryan Palmer 22/1 1 pt EW
Brendon Todd 33/1 1 pt EW
Charley Hoffman 40/1 1 pt EW
Jerry Kelly 80/1 1 pt EW
Total staked = 12 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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