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Late Mail: Meaty Oak Hill ready to provide a tough test

5 Min Read

Golfbet News

    Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. – On the eve of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill we’ve gathered all the late mail as the world’s best golfers get set to chase the Wanamaker Trophy.

    One theme has been constant… the course is set to provide a very stout test to those in the field who will need to value accuracy off the tee if they are to have a chance to go low.

    SPIETH LOOKS FINE… Jordan Spieth (+4000 at BetMGM) looked healthy as he tackled a practice round and match against friend and defending champion Justin Thomas (+2200) on Wednesday.

    Having sat out his hometown AT&T Bryon Nelson event with a wrist complaint, Spieth put it to the test on tournament eve by hacking a few shots out of the juicy rough.

    He looked fine after gouging a ball from the right rough on the par-4 first hole and watching it roll up to the green just 10 feet from the cup.

    “Since last Wednesday afternoon, I feel like I can get into every position with the speed that I want and produce the scores that I want," Spieth told the Golf Channel. “I’m just a little rusty.”

    TOUGH, BUT FAIR… On Wednesday I walked all 18 holes at Oak Hill, talking to numerous groups of players during their practice rounds and getting a feel for just what sort of test awaits the field.

    With thick juicy rough and hard and fast fairways, accuracy off the tee is a serious premium. Several times I witnessed huge drives start down the middle only to catch the camber of the short grass and roll their way into the rough just a foot or so off the fairways.

    From there it’s a guessing game with the lie as players aim for pristine greens.

    “The PGA usually do a great job of setting up a tough but fair test for us and that’s what I see here,” Adam Scott (+6600) says.

    Scott played in both the 2003 and 2013 PGA Championships at Oak Hill, finishing T5 in the latter, and was full of praise for the greens also.

    “The greens are near perfect, if not perfect, but you’ll certainly want to be coming at them from fairways. Someone can score low if they have a day hitting 10 or more fairways, but that’s not an easy task.”

    Golfbet Action Report: Big moves in market on eve of PGA Championship

    CONSENSUS: TAKE THE OVER… When asked for a potential winning score a straw poll of players on course Wednesday landed between 4 and 8-under. One player went as far to say, “give me 4-under right now and I’ll take it.”

    With DraftKings setting its market at over or under 271.5 (8.5 under) the over 271.5 (-140) is clearly the popular side of the coin. Under 271.5 is paying +105 and we did see Jason Dufner win in 2013 at 10-under.

    “Someone can shoot 6 or 7-under in a round out here… sure… but they won’t do that all week,” one player said. “If they get to double digits, they’ve more than earned it.”

    UNDERDONE DAY… Last start winner Jason Day (+2800 at BetMGM) will hit the first tee on Thursday without a practice round under his belt at Oak Hill.

    Day, who broke a five-year win drought at the AT&T Byron Nelson last week, decided to spend his practice time on the range and rest his mind as he looks to repeat his heroics from 2015.

    It’s not the first time Day has foregone practice rounds before big events. He won The Barclays (now FedEx St. Jude Championship) in the 2015 FedExCup playoffs without a practice round and was runner-up at the 2016 PGA Championship having stayed rested until tournament eve – having a modified look at Baltusrol.

    “I haven't played the course. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the course. I'm not fighting anything; I just want to make sure that I'm mentally prepared and mentally ready for tomorrow. No matter how well I prepare, even if I go out and play a practice round, if I come in tomorrow tired and exhausted, it won't do me any favors, so I'm just going to try and take it easy,” Day said.

    The Australian was T8 in 2013 at Oak Hill.

    SCHEFFLER DIALED IN… Pre-tournament favorite Scottie Scheffler (+750) had the ball on a string for the majority of his nine-hole practice round.

    The Texan ensured he left with good memories after smashing a drive perfectly down the ninth hole before hitting a sublime approach inside 20 feet.

    QUIET CANTLAY… Patrick Cantlay (+1800) canceled his scheduled pre-tournament media interview on Wednesday without explanation but was seen shortly after playing nine holes with great friend Xander Schauffele (+1600).

    In an interesting scene, Cantlay was wearing an NFL quarterback-style hand warmer around his waist, resting above his backside while playing. He and Schauffele appeared deadlocked in a match over the early holes but no word as to who came out on top.

    Schauffele has moved from +2200 with Bet MGM to his current price and is the most bet-on player for a Top 5 and Top 10 as they both chase a maiden major championship.

    ALL YOU NEED… Make sure to follow @Golfbet on Twitter and check in at for our extensive coverage from Oak Hill. Here’s a sample of our pre-tournament offerings but rest assured we will have you covered all week long.

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    Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.

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