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Sleeper Picks: the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday

4 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.


    Will Zalatoris (+6000) … It’s like fishing, isn’t it? Cast the line, wait, and then yank! Setting aside the usual acknowledgment for the absence of traditional Sleepers in Signature Events, if it seems that he’s almost unfairly long at this value in a 73-man field and on a course where he finished T5 in his last appearance (in 2022), then take a bite for a full unit because you’re right. Recent soreness in his back thwarted a home game at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson but it also was his only break during a six-week stretch, so it’s fair to assume that he wouldn’t have committed if the tournament wasn’t in his backyard. He’s shown luster thrice this year with a T2 at The Genesis Invitational, a T4 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and a T9 at the Masters, so the 27-year-old wasted little time in shoving back to center stage after his microdiscectomy. Incidentally, as it concerns only the first six Signature Events, Genesis champ Hideki Matsuyama also was +6000 and only the third-longest winner of the series. However, the next-shortest is Rory McIlroy at but +750 pre-tournament at the Wells Fargo Championship, so there’s been a bit of all or nothing relative to the outrights

    TOP 5

    Denny McCarthy (+900) … As opposed to leaning into a stronger (read: shorter) angle, let’s ride with the only guy in the field who recorded a top-five in each of the last two editions of the Memorial. The only other in play across the last three post-renovation is none other than Scottie Scheffler with a pair of third-place finishes, but he’s atop the Power Rankings and an absurd (-155) for a Top 5. A year ago, McCarthy was ousted in a playoff by Viktor Hovland but the American led the field during regulation in Strokes Gained: Putting and total distance of putts converted. Of course, he did; that’s what he does. He’s currently second on the PGA TOUR in SG: Putting and No. 1 in both one-putt percentage and fewest putts per round. Running it back to 2022 when he finished T5, he paced the field in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green and conversion percentage from 4-8 feet, missing only one of 19 tries. It’s worth adding that, unlike this week’s limited field, both of the previous two were customarily full fields.

    Denny McCarthy uses nice approach to set up birdie at the Memorial

    TOP 10

    Justin Rose (+550) … So many of the others in his vicinity on the board present as personal preferences. All have some measure of regular promise that is self-evident. The Englishman isn’t that. He’s speculative, which is why he has my attention. This is his first appearance in four years, so it’s his first look at the renovation. However, since splashing at Muirfield Village with a solo fourth in 2004, it really hasn’t mattered what Jack Nicklaus commissioned, Rose has mastered the modifications. Seven of his 10 paydays in 14 trips resulted in a top 10. That includes the 2010 title and runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2015. Yes, he’s now 43 years of age but he’s still competing strongly enough to warrant the hope. Just finished T6 at the PGA Championship and you won’t find an active professional who appreciates what Nicklaus has done for the sport and what the sport gives back more than the Brit. That he gets another crack at the Memorial is a bonus embraced.

    TOP 20

    Taylor Moore (+300) … Edges Davis Thompson (also at +300) for this endorsement primarily because Thompson, via the Aon Swing 5 (where he’s currently sixth), was the beneficiary of Robert MacIntyre’s decision not to play. Thompson also just secured an exemption into the U.S. Open at final qualifying in Canada, so his dance card suddenly is full of unexpected opportunities. None of that is a negative but Moore has had both circled for some time, so he’s managed his schedule for this fortnight accordingly. For all kinds of obvious reasons, he’s been a common go-to in Sleepers. This is his sixth appearance; he’s connected for touts twice. Half of his most recent eight starts resulted in a Top 20. That includes both majors, so he’s unfazed by the stiffest competition.

    TOP 30

    Jackson Koivun (+200) … Nothing like a PGA TOUR debut in a Signature Event that happens to be the tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus. Of course, Koivun isn’t just any general talent. He’s fresh off a national championship at Auburn where he swept all postseason hardware, including the Jack Nicklaus Award for the top college player of the year. He won the SEC Championship (by six strokes), finished T2 in the individual portion of the national championship and led Division 1 in adjusted scoring. So, he’s quickly up to 13 points in PGA TOUR University Accelerated, second-best only to Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent, who deferred his membership until 2025. And talk about respect – albeit with an understanding of how a handle can influence the odds; the 19-year-old is instantly popular – at last check, there were 15 with longer odds for this special market opened due to the construct of the field.

    Odds were sourced at BetMGM.

    For resources to overcome a gambling problem, call or text 1-800-GAMBLER today.

    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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