Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky
Par 71, 7,458 yards
The PGA Championship returns to Valhalla Golf Club for the third time. It was first played here in 1996 where Mark Brooks was the winner over Kenny Perry. Valhalla then played host again in 2000 where Tiger Woods went on to beat Bob May in a playoff. The Ryder Cup was also played here in 2008, which as the last time the US Team won the Ryder Cup.
This course is a lengthy 7,458 yards and features three par 5’s, four par 3’s and 11 par 4’s. Length will be a big advantage here this week with three of the par 4’s measuring 495 yards or longer. Birdies will be found on the par 5’s with them measuring between 540 yards and 597 yards so quite a few players will be hitting these greens in two.
The fairways are quite generous with some doglegs, but accuracy will be a huge factor here so be on the lookout for guys that are good ball strikers and have good driving distance and accuracy stats. These large, undulating bentgrass greens are protected by large bunkers so GIR and scrambling will also be important.
The WGC Bridgestone has been played the week before The PGA since 2007 and has always been a good indicator of who could potentially go well. Players that have finished in the top 20 in firestone and have good current form are ones to keep an eye on.
Justin Rose 22/1
Justin Rose had yet another top 10 last week in Firestone shooting 65,67,70,69 on his way to a T4. He is playing very steady golf at the moment and has two wins in his previous five starts. He played well at The Open Championship and finished in respectable T23rd.
He had another good week at The Scottish Open shooting a final round 65 to finish on 16 under par for the tournament. Rose also won the week before at The Quicken Loans at Congressional beating Shawn Stefani in a playoff. At The Players Championship he finished T4th and followed that with a respectable T12 at The US Open.
Statswise, he ranks 40th in GIR, 10th in scoring average, 21st in par breakers and 25th in par 4 performance. He also ranks 11th in GIR from 175-200 yards which will be a big help on these long par 4’s.
Rickie Fowler 25/1
Rickie Fowler has been a big performer this year, especially at the majors. He had a super week at The Masters in Augusta back in April finishing T5th for the week. Rickie also played very well at both the US Open at Pinehurst clinching a T2nd and at The Open Championship at Hoylake also finishing in T2nd. Last week at Firestone, he had another good performance shooting three 67’s and 72 to close with a T8th.
He ranks 35th in driving distance, 19th in par 5 birdie or better leaders and 43rd in par 5 performance. He also ranks ninth in approaches from 125-150 yards and 16th in approaches from 225-250 yards which will help on these long par 5’s. Rickie has proven he loves the big occasions and could be a big danger man here at Valhalla this week.
Keegan Bradley 33/1
After another steady performance last week finishing T4th at Firestone, Keegan Bradley looks like a player that would suit a course like Valhalla. He has put together good performances at Hoylake finishing T19th, and also played well the week before at The Greenbrier Classic shooting four rounds in the 60’s on nine under par to close with a T4th for the tournament.
At The US Open in Pinehurst, Bradley recorded yet another T4th to finish +1 for the tournament. Statswise he ranks 14th in driving distance, 24th in strokes gained putting, 14th in birdie average, 13th in par breakers and 15th in scrambling. He also ranks third in approaches from 200+ and sixth in GIR from 175-200, two stats that should help on some of the long par 4’s. Keegan is playing good golf at the moment and has the ball striking and distance to have yet another good week here.
Charl Schwartzel 40/1
After a final round 64 last week in Firestone, adding a third top 10 finish in his last five starts, Charl Schwartzel looks to be bang in form at the moment. After a great performance at the HP Byron Nelson back in May finishing just outside the top 10 in T11th, he then followed that with another solid week at The Memorial closing with a T8th. Charl had another good performance at The Open at Hoylake shooting a final round 67 to clinch T7th. At Firestone last week he played great golf all week shooting a superb final round 64 to finish T4th.
Schwartzel ranks 31st in driving distance, ninth in birdie average, ninth in par breakers and second in birdie or better conversion percentage. He also ranks third in par 5 birdie or better leaders, 25th in scrambling and 11th in approaches from 200-225. He ticks a lot of statistical boxes and comes here in great form.
Marc Leishman 50/1
Leishman has had a great season so far, especially in the last few weeks recording four top 11’s in his last five starts. His good run began back at the Byron Nelson back in May shooting four rounds in the 60’s finishing T3rd. He then had a good week at The Travellers closing with a 67 to clinch a T11 and followed that with a T8th at The Quicken Loans at Congressional.
Leishman has had two very good weeks which began in Hoylake at The Open Championship finishing in T5th for the tournament on 12 under par for the week. At Firestone last week, he began his tournament with an impressive opening round 64 and ended up closing with a 67 and finshing solo third.
He also measures up here statswise ranking 30th in driving distance, 14th in scoring average, 39th in par breakers a 21st in par 3 performance. He also ranks 24th in approaches from 150-175 and third in approaches from 250-275, two good stats for these long par 4’ and par 5’s.
Jimmy Walker 50/1
With solid performances at the majors so far this year, Jimmy Walker could be a man to keep your eye on here at Valhalla this week. He has proven he can contend in majors with great performances at The Masters (T8), The US Open (T9) and a respectable T26 at The Open. Walker also played great golf at Sawgrass closing with a 65 to finish T6th.
In the last few weeks, he has continued to play well finishing T10th at The Crowne Plaza at Colonial and followed that with a good finish at The US Open. Walker had a decent performance last week at Firestone finishing in a respectable T26. He ranks 19th in driving distance, 29th in GIR, seventh in strokes gained putting and second in birdie average. He also ranks 15 in par 4 performance, eighth in par 5 performance and seventh in total putting. One to watch here at a good price.
Justin Rose 2 pts EW
Rickie Fowler 2 pts EW
Keegan Bradley 2 pts EW
Charl Schwartzel 2 pts EW
Marc Leishman 1 pt EW
Jimmy Walker 1 pt EW
Places 1-6 (PaddyPower)
To Make/Miss the cut:
McDowell/Casey/Leishman to make the cut @ 2.1 – 2 pts treble (PaddyPower)
Total staked = 22 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,