Copperhead Course, Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbour, Florida
Par 71, 7,340 yards
There are four golf courses at Innisbrook, all designed by Larry Packard, the oldest of which is the Island Course, which was completed in 1970. The Copperhead Course came next in 1974, and originally had 27 holes before nine were used as the basis of the Highlands North Course. The final addition was the Highlands South Course
The Copperhead course is a lengthy par 71 and has four par 5’s, five par 3’s and nine par 4’s. All but one of the par 3’s measure over 200 yards and will demand good accurate iron play to score on the greens, which are smaller than average for PGA Tour standards. The par 5’s measure between 560-605 yards and should be difficult to hit in two for most of the field. Two out of the four par 5’s have double doglegs so an accurate tee shot can be well rewarded. Although this course is long, there is more of an emphasis on accuracy. Players will score well if they place their tee shot in the right part of the fairways here.
Players that can work the ball both directions off the tee should also have a big advantage. Just like last week in Doral, water will be a key feature this week with it coming into play on 9 out of the 18 holes so expect some drama. This course features three tricky closing holes on the back 9 in the shape of 16, 17 and 18 which are called the “Snake Pit”. It consists of two very tricky par 4’s and a difficult par 3 and is known as one of the most difficult closing three hole stretches on Tour.
There are a few stats to consider on this course, the first one being accuracy off the tee. It also boasts five par 3’s and four par 5’s so be on the lookout for good par 3 and par 5 performance stats and good all round driving. The greens here are Bermuda greens and are quite small and tricky to read so be on the lookout for good GIR stats and accurate approach stats.
After a respectable T17 last week at The WGC Cadillac, Jordan Spieth comes to Copperhead in great form. Other than a missed cut at The Farmers, Spieth hasn’t finished worse than T17 in his last six events. He had a great week at The Hero World Challenge in December shooting 26 under par in total to win the tournament. He followed that with another win, which came at The Australian Open, a T7 at The Phoenix Open, another T7 at The AT&T National in Pebble Beach and a T4 at The Northern Trust Open.
He has a good record here finishing T20 last year and T7 in 2013. Statswise he ranks 30th in driving distance, ninth in strokes gained tee to green, fourth in approaches from 275 and ninth in approaches from 200-225. He also ranks seventh in approaches from 150-175 and first in approaches from 100 yards. Spieth also ranks number one in putting from 15-20 feet, which is a good stat for these small greens. With great current form, good previous performances here and great approach stats, Jordan Spieth could be the man to beat here this week.
Furyk has been frustrating to watch over the last few years failing to get the job done on numerous occasions when in contention, falling off the pace after a bogey or two on the back nine on a Sunday. However, I think he will get that monkey off his back one of these days and Copperhead could be the place to do it. Furyk hasn’t finished worse than T14 in his last three starts and is one of the most consistent players on tour. He held the 54 hole lead in Pebble Beach a couple of weeks ago only to shoot a disappointing final round 74 to finish T7. He followed that with a respectable T14 at The Northern Trust Open finishing on two under for the tournament. Furyk also had a good performance at The WGC Cadillac last week finishing T12, which included a final round 69.
His record on this course is super with a win in 2010, T13 in 2011, T2 in 2012, T7 in 2013 and a T20 last year. Furyk ranks 10th in driving accuracy, 18th in GIR, first in strokes gained tee to green and second in approaches from 200 yards. He also ranks fourth in approaches from 100 yards, fourth in approaches from 175-200 and 27th in par 3 scoring. If he is going to get a win anywhere, it could be here.
Luke Donald has been showing some good form lately finishing T7 at The Honda Classic a couple of weeks ago, which included two 67’s to finish on three under for the tournament. He was showing some good form before Christmas playing well at The Nedbank Challenge in South Africa finishing solo 3rd on 12 under. He also had a good finish to the 2014 European Tour season finishing T26 at The DP World Championship in Dubai.
He has a great record on this course and hasn’t finished worse than T6 in his last four appearances. He played well here last year finishing T4, T4 again in 2013, won in 2012 and finished T6 in 2010. Donald is another player with good approach stats ranking 20th in approaches from 275 yards, 12th in approaches from 125-150, 12th from 150-175 and 18th in approaches from 100 yards. He also ranks second in putts from 8 feet, which is a good stat for these small Bermuda greens.
After a respectable T9 last week at The WGC Cadillac, Kevin Na comes back to Copperhead showing some good recent form. He showed good consistency last week shooting 74,71,71,71 to finish one under for the tournament. He has been showing snippets of form over the last few months finishing T2 at The CIMB Classic back in November, T20 at The WGC HSBC Champions and more recently a T26 at The Phoenix Open. Na played well here last year shooting 70,68,68,70 on his way to a six under finish and solo second, one stroke behind the winner John Senden.
Statswise Na ranks 27th in par 3 scoring, 13th in approaches from 100-125 yards and 26th in approaches from 200-225 yards, which is a good stat for approaches into the long par 5’s. With a good performance last week and a top five last year, Na could feature at a good price.
After being off with an injured hand for the last couple of months, Will MacKenzie played his first event of 2015 in Puerto Rico last week and finished with an impressive T6. In his last five starts, he has finished with three top 10’s since the end of October. He started the season with a P2 at The McGladrey Classic, where he got into a playoff with eventual winner Robert Streb and was knocked out but played solid all week. He followed that with a T9 at The OHL Classic, which included an opening round 65 and a closing round 66 to post 11 under for the tournament.
MacKenzie ranks 25th in driving accuracy, third in GIR, third in strokes gained tee to green, second in strokes gained total and eighth in par 4 scoring. After a great performance last week in Puerto Rico and a top 5 here last year, MacKenzie could be another player that could feature at a big price.
Final Selections –
Jordan Spieth 2 pts EW 14/1
Jim Furyk 1 pt EW 22/1
Luke Donald 1 pt EW 25/1
Kevin Na 1 pt EW 50/1
Will MacKenzie 1 pt EW 66/1
Total staked = 12 pts
Good luck and enjoy the golf,
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