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The chase is on at the PGA Championship

6 Min Read

Golfbet News

    Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It ain’t over till it’s over. Just ask defending PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas. Anything can happen on major championship Sunday’s.

    Thomas was seven back starting the final round at Southern Hills last May before making a stunning final round rally to secure his second PGA Championship, a fact those in the mix will not have forgotten.

    While there is no doubt two-time PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka is in the catbird seat at six under, he won’t be getting ahead of himself at Oak Hill Country Club. It was just last month where Koepka had a three-shot lead at the Masters with a round to play only to falter and allow Jon Rahm to come through and take the Green Jacket.

    This time around Koepka sits one shot clear of Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners, two men chasing their maiden majors. Former U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau is three shots behind at three under before PLAYERS champion Scottie Scheffler and another former U.S. Open winner Justin Rose at two under.

    Rory McIlroy is the only other player in red numbers at one under with surprise packet PGA professional Michael Block and youngster Justin Suh at even. Others inside the same margin as Thomas a year ago are Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Min Woo Lee, Eric Cole, Victor Perez and Stephan Jaeger.

    Here are the latest odds from BetMGM Sportsbook.

    +120: Brooks Koepka (-6, 1st)

    +350: Viktor Hovland (-5, T2)

    +500: Corey Conners (-5, T2)

    +850: Scottie Scheffler (-2, T5)

    +1100: Bryson DeChambeau (-3, 4th)

    +2000: Rory McIlroy (-1, 7th)

    +2200: Justin Rose (-2, T5)

    +20000 or more: Everyone else.

    Interestingly Thomas hit +25000 during last year’s championship final round. Will someone come from the clouds again?

    Oak Hill has been a beast over the first three rounds and Saturday’s play in continuous rain was certainly a massive test. This might have folks thinking a charge up the boards is unlikely to happen but the flipside is collapses certainly can.

    Plus, with the rain now forecast to be done for the championship, the course may play a little easier on Sunday with sticky fairways and receptive greens.

    While Koepka’s pedigree can’t be denied – nor can the fact he’s ranking third in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and fourth in SG: Around-the-Green this week – his odds are certainly short with 18 holes to play. He also has the recent Masters miss on his radar.

    So, if you are looking at the thrill of the chase – knowing the last 54-hole leader in a major to win was Phil Mickelson in the 2021 PGA Championship – where should you lean?

    Here’s a reason why the chasers can win, and why they might not.


    Case For: Scheffler is a proven major winner and former World No.1 with a chance to get back there tomorrow. The PLAYERS champion ranks fourth in SG: Off-the-Tee and 11th in SG: Approach this week.

    “The way I played the back nine, I started hitting a lot of fairways and hitting some quality shots. Outside of No. 15, I really hit a lot of quality shots, and so that's what I'll think about tonight going into tomorrow,” Scheffler said.

    “I didn't shoot myself out of it on a day where the condition were tough and I didn't have my best stuff. I hung in there pretty good and didn't post the number I wanted to, but I'm still only four back going into tomorrow, and if I go out and have a great round, I think I'll have a decent chance.”

    Case Against: He’s given up a healthy four shot lead to Koepka after a dismal 73 on Saturday. And with his putter proving shaky of late over some shorter putts, can he get enough birdies to reel in the others? The good news is – at +850 – these are the best odds he’s had all week, including pre-tournament!


    Case For: Hovland has been in the furnace before, most notably at the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews last season and should be better for the experience. He leads the field this week in Strokes Gained: Approach at a ridiculous +3.559 per round, well ahead of any other contenders.

    “My iron game has been very, very good this week. I hit a lot of good approach shots… playing very stress-free golf,” Hovland said. “The mindset is just going to be, I play my own game, and obviously I want to win, but I am just going to play what I think is the right play on every single shot, and if I get beat, I get beat, but the plan is to not give it away.”

    Case Against: The flipside of gaining experience at the pointy end of a major leaderboard is the potential scar tissue of not closing the deal. Hovland is still missing some crucial putts at times, ranking 49th this week in SG: Putting.


    Case For: Fifth in SG: Approach, eighth in SG: Putting and 15th in SG: Off-the-Tee this week shows Conners has all facets of his game going. The two-time Valero Texas Open champion knows he’s the underdog and will look to play off that. “I played solid the last few days, so just trying to do more of the same and have some fun out there and play with freedom,” Conners said,

    Case Against: After playing beautifully across the opening 15 holes Conners gave a small taste of what pressure might do to the Canadian on the 16th. He smashed a fairway bunker shot into the embankment of the bunker where it embedded and ultimately walked off with a double bogey. He will need to stay very calm and make near perfect decisions Sunday.


    Case For: He’s Rory McIlroy. A four-time major winner, three-time FedExCup champion who knows how to close. He’s also ranked third this week in SG: Approach and isn’t afraid to attack this championship much like Thomas did a year ago.

    Case Against: McIlroy hasn’t won a major since 2014 and has hit just 13 of 42 fairways this week.

    “I need to keep hope. I have to believe that there is a score like (65) out there because looking at the board, it's probably a score I'm going to have to shoot… to have a chance to win,” he said.


    Case For: Ranks first in the field in SG: Off-the-Tee and sixth in SG: Approach.

    Case Against: Has lost a total of -1.445 strokes around the green and ranks 66th.

    “The whole game has to be on par to win a major championship. Subpar, actually. It's got to be better than par,” DeChambeau said.


    Case For: Won the 2013 U.S. Open and ranks sixth in SG: Putting this week.

    Case Against: Ranks 46th in SG: Off-the-Tee with just 12 of 42 fairways this week.

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