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Sleeper Picks: PGA Championship

3 Min Read

Sleeper Picks


    Written by Rob Bolton @RobBoltonGolf

    NOTE: Sleeper Picks did not appear in Rob’s Power Rankings, but each presents value for the bet specified.


    Jason Day (+5500) … Because the PGA Championship is a major, it’s a timely reminder that Sleeper is a relative term. The 36-year-old has 13 PGA TOUR victories, including the 2015 edition of this tournament, so he’s not sneaking up on anyone. However, amid the heavyweights much shorter on the board, he stands out as overlooked, which always is good for us. Like Rory McIlroy, who arrives with wins in his last two starts, just as he had in advance of winning the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club (Day finished T15 that week), the Aussie is proven to ride the groove of the inside lane. His 2015 PGA Championship title was one of four wins spanning six starts at the time. This time, he’s fresh off a T4 at the Wells Fargo Championship where vintage touch around and on greens was on display.

    Top 5

    Viktor Hovland (+650) … Certainly, targeting talent on the upswing is one pathway to this payoff; it’s happened three times this year. Another is leaning into a top talent who’s lost his way but still isn’t very far from the main drag. It’s within that speculative subset where we find the 26-year-old and most recent FedExCup champion. Golf happens and he’s getting a large dose of it this year. Perhaps his smartest decision thus far was sitting out three weeks after missing the cut at the Masters. After a pressure-laden stretch to open the year, it gave him time to reflect, rest, reset and return for the Wells Fargo Championship. A T24 isn’t especially impressive, but it’s better than a feared alternative. Even better, the ball-striker did what he does best in ranking T9 in greens in regulation (11 per round on average) and leading the field in proximity to the hole. That affirmation can fuel confidence, which is exactly what he needs right now. He also has two top fives in majors, including a career-best T2 in last year’s PGA Championship.

    Top 10

    Corey Conners (+600) … It’s hard to believe that he’s gone 15 straight starts without a top 10. And given that he’s cashed in 20 in a row, you’d think that the golf gods would’ve tossed one his way across that stretch. That said, he checked up just one shot outside the bubble in his last two. En route to a T13 at the Wells Fargo Championship, the Canadian hosted his usual clinic from tee to green. So, an extension of the norm as the field endures the open-book exam on the putting surfaces sets him up as a front-runner.

    Top 20

    Chris Kirk (+400) … He’s one of the 34 in the field who competed at Valhalla in 2014. While that experience isn’t nothing, the greens will present as unfamiliar to the masses. When this happens, ball-strikers step forward as having an edge as all learn the nuances of the ball on the ground nearest the hole. He’s among that contingent as well. Classically tidy form has him positioned at ninth in the FedExCup with a season-opening victory at The Sentry punctuating four top 20s, two of which in his last three starts, including a career-best T16 at the Masters.

    Top 40

    Mark Hubbard (+250) … With the slightest of differences in the kickbacks among a host of tantalizing options on this board, let’s ride with one of the longest. He’s cashed in all 13 of his starts this season, seven of which resulted in a top 40, including his second straight at THE PLAYERS Championship. Yes, the PGA Championship is a major but it feels the closest to a non-major that the PGA TOUR hosts, so that’s baked into the faith. Valhalla won’t be brutal, but even if it is, his balanced bag is what anyone competing would want. Never the longest hitter but still T6 on the PGA TOUR in par-5 scoring.

    Odds were sourced at BetMGM.

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    Rob Bolton is a Golfbet columnist for the PGA TOUR. The Chicagoland native has been playing fantasy golf since 1994, so he was just waiting for the Internet to catch up with him. Follow Rob Bolton on Twitter.

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