Sleeper Picks: Valspar Championship
April 27, 2021
By Rob Bolton, GolfBet for PGATOUR.COM
- Emiliano Grillo is trending nicely entering Tampa, Florida. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Emiliano Grillo (+5000) … This is a good test for anyone with a poor short-term memory. It was just over a week ago when he shared runner-up honors at Harbour Town. If you’ve already forgotten, that’s the kind of thing that happens when the champion (Stewart Cink) runs away to win by four shots. In his previous start, Grillo finished T6 at Corales. He has five top 25s in his last seven starts. The surge is as a consequence of vastly improved putting to pay off world-class ball-striking. Currently T7 on the PGA TOUR in total driving, second in greens in regulation and first in proximity to the hole. That lethal combo has him third in bogey avoidance. And on a course like Copperhead where he can hide a bit as something other than an elite putter, it’s curious why he’s made only one trip (MC, 2015).
Patton Kizzire (+12500) … At 25th in the all-around ranking, the 35-year-old often looks like he aligns with most tracks. He’s positioned 18th in greens in regulation and T17 in putts per GIR. He’s also 38th in adjusted scoring and T31 in bogey avoidance. Despite a frequency of failing to put four rounds together, that’s hardly scarce on the PGA TOUR, so there’s nothing about which to complain about three top 10s contributing to a 13-for-16 slate. However – you felt it coming – he has only one top-30 finish in his last eight starts. It happens to be relatively recently at the Valero Texas Open (T9), but he’s not pressured to perform. With par as an acceptable target on most holes at Copperhead, his balanced bag is a net-positive relative to the competition.
Erik van Rooyen (+8000) … It’s taken the 31-year-old a minute to find his way and gain some traction. Done and done! As it has so often for other internationals in the past, an impressive showing at the Match Play has ignited something. He survived the Group Stage (for a T9) and has gone on to post another pair of top 20s in San Antonio and New Orleans (with Wyndham Clark). The South African debuted as a PGA TOUR member this season already with a multitude of success abroad, so this current heater isn’t a new experience as he tackles Copperhead for the first time.
Keith Mitchell (+15000) … At first glance, he looks to be the focus of converging trends, but his T11 in his only prior trip to Copperhead was in 2017, so the unofficial statute of limitations on what constitutes recent success has elapsed. That said, the experience is better than most alternatives and no one can take it away from him. Much more recently, and relevantly, he returns having connected for a T17 at TPC San Antonio to open April. Last week, he collaborated with Brandt Snedeker for a T4 at TPC Louisiana. After an extended period of time without making noise, Mitchell has the mojo.
Adam Schenk (+20000) … It’s all about momentum for the 29-year-old native of Indiana. He’s 132nd in the FedExCup but he recorded his first top-25 finish of the season at the RBC Heritage two weeks ago. A T11 with Tyler Duncan followed at TPC Louisiana. The greens at Copperhead aren’t as tiny as Harbour Town, but they are among the smallest on TOUR. His skill set is average but it’s balanced, so that takes the pressure off any one area, and he ranks 16th in scrambling, so he presents potential in his third appearance.
Odds were sourced on Tuesday, April 27 at 5 a.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
NOTE: Sleeper is a relative term, so Rob uses unofficial criteria to determine who qualifies. Each of the following usually is determined to be ineligible for this weekly staple: Winners of the tournament on the current host course; winners in the same season; recent major champions; top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking; recent participants of team competitions.