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Cream will rise at Muirfield Village

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Cream will rise at Muirfield Village


    Written by Ben Everill @BEverillGolfbet

    DUBLIN, Ohio – A big name will win this week… but you might be able to get them at good odds.

    Gone are the days to expect a Will McGirt (2016) or David Lingmerth (2015) winner but this doesn’t mean you should only pick from the very top of the board at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday.

    Billy Horschel was a former FedExCup winner when he won here a year ago. Jon Rahm (2020) and Patrick Cantlay (2019, 2021) the two winners prior were established stars. Jason Dufner (2017) was a former major winner.


    All-time greatest shots from Muirfield Village Golf Club


    Yet despite this, they all had decent pre-tournament odds before connecting with victory. Horschel was +6600 a year ago with BetMGM Sportsbook despite his pedigree. Cantlay and Rahm were as high as +2000 before their more recent wins at Muirfield Village.

    There is no faking it at Muirfield Village. If you want to win at Jack’s place you need to bring your tee-to-green best or you will be left behind. The last eight winners of the tournament were inside the top 11 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green for the week.

    There are VERY compelling cases to expect a winner to come from the top three on the boards. Scottie Scheffler (+600), Rahm (+750) and Cantlay (+1000) rank first, third and seventh respectively this season in SG: Tee-to-Green. But don’t be surprised if a known ball-striker like Viktor Hovland (+2000), Collin Morikawa (+2500), Tyrrell Hatton (+2500) or Sungjae Im (+3500) come from “the clouds” so to speak.

    Those players rank 12th, fifth, sixth and 18th in SG: Tee-to-Green.

    OUTRIGHTS

    Having been at the last 12 editions of the Memorial I’ve seen it all but it’s the last four, and really the last two since a significant renovation of the course, that brings me the most value when looking to a winner.

    As “boring” as it might be I can’t overlook Jon Rahm (+750) and Patrick Cantlay (+1000) at this venue. Rahm’s key stats include ranking first in scoring average, second in SG: Total, third in SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Approach and seventh in SG: Putting. He won here in 2020 and was six shots clear to defend his title through 54 holes before a COVID-19 withdraw.

    “I think it's a golf course you kind of need to learn to play a little bit. It gives you a lot of options off the tee on a couple of holes. Getting a couple reps helps... it's target golf. You put it on the fairway, put it on the proper side of the fairway to give you the best angle to the green,” Rahm explained.

    “Par 3s are all difficult. You have to be really accurate with your iron play. No surprise Tiger has such a success here, right. You just need to come out and be the best. While you're doing that it actually makes you think a little bit more than some of the golf courses we go to. So, like I said, it's a fun test and I think that's why I've played well.”

    Cantlay was the man to take that 2021 title, his second after winning the 2019 edition. He’s second on TOUR in SG: Off-the-Green, fourth in SG: Total and seventh in SG: Tee-to-Green. Both Rahm and Cantlay share the top spot on TOUR in Par 5 scoring.

    TOP 5

    A few years ago, during a rain delay at Muirfield Village, I sat inside the halfway house with Xander Schauffele (+275 for a top 5) and garnered plenty of confidence from the man himself that he will one day win at Jack’s place. He has been in the top 20 the last four years running but I think now is the time he can fully contend for the title. He’s already moved in from +300 to +275 in this market.

    TOP 10

    It has gotten to the point where you can’t look at tournament-long plays without considering Scottie Scheffler (-165 for a Top 10) somewhere in your picks. I’ve been waiting for him to have an off week but it’s yet to materialize. He hasn’t finished outside the top 20 since last October in stroke play events and he’s shortened from -140 to -165 in this market already. Scheffler is a clear leader in SG: Tee-to-Green this season at +2.567 per round, well ahead to next-best Rory McIlroy at +1.840. If not for some dodgy putting of late, Scheffler would have won multiple times. He ranked second last on the greens last week and missed a playoff by just one shot.

    TOP 20

    Sneaking into 19th spot this season in SG: Tee-to-Green is Irishman Shane Lowry (+170 for a top 20). With a T6 and T32 the last two years at Muirfield Village and coming off a T12 at the PGA Championship, his stocks are rising in my book.

    TOP 40

    When it comes to the Top 40 market, I always like to advocate finding a + money option that you can sneak in. One that pops to me is rookie Akshay Bhatia (+160 for a Top 40) who is 41st this season in SG: Tee-to-Green. He hasn’t played the Memorial before but his skill set is certainly a match for Muirfield Village.

    LONGSHOTS

    As mentioned earlier, last year’s winner in Billy Horschel was a juicy pre-tournament number before recapturing some of his best form the week of the Memorial. Another man that could see something similar is Adam Scott (+5500). The veteran Aussie has made the cut in 13 of 14 visits to Muirfield Village with four top 5s on his resume. At the other end of the experience spectrum is Sahith Theegala (+5000) who has finished T32 and T5 in his only two visits. His Tee-to-Green game a year ago was second only behind winner Horschel.

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    Senior Writer, Golfbet Follow Ben Everill on Twitter.

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