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Matchup Minute: Back Patrick Cantlay to outdrive (and outplay) Rory McIlroy at Oak Hill

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Matchup Minute: Back Patrick Cantlay to outdrive (and outplay) Rory McIlroy at Oak Hill

    Written by Reid Fowler @DraftKings

    One more sleep until the 105th PGA Championship. Set in Rochester, N.Y., Oak Hill Country Club will play host to the second major of the PGA TOUR season. The course has held three U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships in the past, and we should expect another challenging test of golf this week. Unlike the Masters, the PGA Championship is transient. We could be on a modern links course one year and then a coastal Carolina track the following season. Oak Hill will be a classical Donald Ross design that requires a ‘technician’ to have total driving and the ability to hit these small greens that measure 4,500 square feet on average, which is smaller than usual on the PGA TOUR.

    There are a lot of different ways to approach betting in this tournament. In majors, it usually comes down to one of the top-ranked players winning, and three-balls or head-to-head matchups are a great way to get exposure to golfers we like without having multiple outright bets with a smaller probability of hitting this week. It’s easy to fill your betting cards to the absolute max with all the best players in the world on-site.

    Here are some matchups to consider this week at the PGA Championship, with odds via BetMGM Sportsbook unless otherwise noted:

    Cameron Young (-130) over Cameron Smith

    Even though Smith has shown how well he performs in majors, with The 2022 Open Championship under his proverbial belt, the Aussie does not have the prolific off-the-tee game that Cameron Young possesses. It’s always a scary prospect fading the reigning Champion Golfer of the Year, but Young has proven he’s got game in majors, with finishes of 7-2-3 in his most recent three majors (2023 Masters, 2022 Open, 2022 PGA Championship). Young is struggling on the greens, losing an average of 1.1 strokes putting per tournament over the previous five starts. Still, Young’s ability to get a short(er) iron in hand over golfers like Smith gives Young a comparative advantage this week.

    Patrick Cantlay (-108) over Rory McIlroy

    Getting plus-money with McIroy on a course where the driver can be a difference-maker seems like a gift, but dare I say Cantlay has been better than McIlroy with the big stick this season? (Don’t throw anything at me before looking at the numbers.) Cantlay’s gained over four strokes off the tee in four of his previous five tournaments and 3.7 in the one tournament he didn’t go over. McIlroy is always a threat on the biggest stage(s) of golf, but with a couple of missed cuts at THE PLAYERS Championship and the Masters, Cantlay gets the nod this week. You can find this on Fanduel.

    Round 1 Three-Ball: Tyrrell Hatton (+230) over Xander Schauffele and Dustin Johnson

    You'll get no pushback here if you’re keen on chasing Schauffele, but the number on Hatton is too good to pass up. Johnson is a seasoned veteran and two-time major champion, but Hatton’s form is impeccable, with recent finishes of 5-3-19 in his previous three starts on TOUR. In those tournaments, Hatton gained a total of 23.7 strokes tee-to-green and ranked fifth in total strokes gained over the last 24 rounds.

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