Sleeper Picks: Valspar Championship
Five who might make some noise at Copperhead
March 11, 2014
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Jonathan Byrd has seen success here and has made the cut in 10 consecutive appearances. (Warshaw/Getty Images)
Russell Knox ... A solid year of consistently strong form culminated with a playoff loss at The Honda Classic two weeks ago, but many fans have a short memory, which is why he lands here. The Scot is 0-for-1 at Copperhead (2011), but ranks T13 in fairways hit, 14th in greens in regulation, first in proximity to the hole, 11th in bogey avoidance, 14th in adjusted scoring at T1 in par-3 scoring. In other words, he has few if any weaknesses.
Bryce Molder ... First start since a season-best T6 at the Northern Trust Open. That came a week after a T10 at Pebble Beach. Hasn't missed a cut in 12 consecutive starts and has survived the last two at Copperhead (T20, 2012; T30, 3013). Currently 13th in both scrambling and bogey avoidance.
Daniel Summerhays ... He's been knocking on the door as much as any non-winner for several months and Copperhead is the kind of layout that can showcase his skill set yet again. Ranks 33rd in fairways hit, 16th in strokes gained-putting, 46th in scrambling and T30 in bogey avoidance. Also 31st in adjusted scoring. Took last week off following a T12 at The Honda Classic, his fourth top 25 of the season.
Jonathan Byrd ... Came within two strokes of fulfilling the terms of his Major Medical Extension at the Puerto Rico Open. Nevertheless, the T12 was easily his best finish of the season. Needing only a two-way T38 at Copperhead to retain his status for the remainder of the year (with one more start on the medical thereafter if needed), he could roll out of bed and snag that. He's 10-for-10 on this course with three top 10s and another three top 20s.
Billy Hurley III ... Making his debut at Copperhead and doing so on a sponsor exemption. Solo fifth two weeks ago at PGA National where he ranked T9 in fairways hit, T10 in greens in regulation, fourth in strokes gained-putting and second in scrambling. For the season, he's inside the top 25 on TOUR in fairways, GIR and scrambling. Also T6 in bogey avoidance.