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Handicapping

Quicken Loans National Predictions

Event: Quicken Loans National
When: June 29 – July 2, 2017
Where:TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms – Potomac, MD
TV:The Golf Channel/CBS
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com

Leave it to Jordan Spieth to give us a little fireworks show last week, just as we are getting ready for the real fireworks on the Fourth. Not everyone can get on board with watching golf on a weekly basis but the diehard fans get to see those amazing moments that always seem to happen no matter the event. The PGA Tour moves now to the D.C. area for the Quicken Loans National. This is Tiger’s event and while Mr. Woods will not be in attendance this weekend, the tournament still has a prestigious feel and is one of the few true invitationals on Tour. Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas enter as the tournament favorites but a strong overall field will tee it up, including defending champion Billy Hurley III. With only three weeks until the British Open, there are still qualifying spots to be had and just about everyone is jockeying for position to make sure they are on the right side of the cut line with the start of the Playoffs on the horizon.

This event, formerly the AT&T, has only been around since 2007 but the D.C. suburbs have been part of the Tour landscape for decades. The Kemper Open and Booz/Allen were fixtures on Tour for many years with places like Congressional serving as corner stone stops as the PGA made east coast trips. TPC Potomac will host the Quicken Loans National for the first time with the 7,139 yard, par-70 layout sporting a newer feel after undergoing some much needed improvements. The course was lengthened, the par value was dropped from 71 and play affecting additions like Tour-level collection areas around the greens were installed. Players will be able to rely on some former course knowledge as this is not a brand new layout but there will be enough new elements to perhaps cause a few uneasy swings the first few days.

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Patrick Reed (12 to 1 odds to win)

Reed isn’t the short odds favorite the Fowler is this week but that is just fine as he is still expected to contend and get a nice bump in value. Fantasy golf and straight betting do not always go hand-in-hand but it should be pointed out that many Fantasy pundits think Reed is the actual favorite to win this week based on his recent trend of good play. Reed managed a nice T17 at Erin Hills and turned in a T5 last week, marking his best 2017 finish. He really sort of hit bottom with three missed cuts in April but has been around for every weekend since and the numbers are getting better each week. Patrick enters the week 41st in birdie average, 21st in total birdies and 25th in total putting. He has been pretty good off the tee as the 51st ranked player in strokes gained on drives and his approach game is rounding into the kind of shape we saw last fall. You may have made a bit of cash betting against Reed through Spring but it is time to get back on his side.

Graham DeLaet (40 to 1)

Always one of the best ball strikers, DeLaet is a threat to contend if he can get it rolling on the greens and he did just that last week Thursday while carding a 65 to open the Travelers. He faded a bit through the week but he should be able to impress again this week and to his total of five top-10 finishes on the year, including one at the Memorial against a superior field. His tee-to-green ability is second to none outside of Fowler this week and he has the ability to attack the course in a variety of ways. Graham is the 7th best overall driver on Tour, coming in at 25th in distance while adding another top-25 in greens hit. He is 22nd in proximity so he can get those easy birdie looks which help take some of the stress out of the rounds. He is good enough with the putter to win but his recovery game is below average so a win this week will hinge on his ability to hit greens at a high rate and save pars when he does miss. He is easily a top-5 iron player in this field and I expect another solid effort like he put in last week.

Kevin Streelman (50 to 1)

Streelman is trending in the right direction to put together a contending run with a solid T13 a few weeks back at the Memorial and a T8 last week that featured a 69/64 weekend finish. That momentum from River Highlands should carry over and Kevin should be able to put his top-25 driver to good use to start. He is 48th in fairways so look for him to easily navigate this layout and get good looks to the greens. He does need a plus week with the putter as his putting average is about 145th at this point but he is getting the looks, just not the makes. A turnaround could mean big things and a big payday against a field that is wide open.

Head-to-Head Matches

Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with your 5Dimes Sportsbook for the best array of single round matches and a the best variety of prop bets.

Brendan Steele v. David Lingmerth (pick to win: Steele)

There are a lot of rank-and-file players in this week’s field so there is the chance that the books will give you a gift of a pairing and I think they did here. Both of these players are talented but Steele appears the clear favorite in this match, primarily due his sizeable edge in scoring average. What really cements that is Lingmerth’s edge in putting performance as one would expect a closer comparison with David as the better putter but that just isn’t the case. Basically, Steele is gaining strokes on Lingmerth in every other category so as to not only erase the putting disadvantage but also go right by him on the scorecard. Golf can be fickle and a couple of bad shots can tip a match but Steele should win this match 70% of the time so this looks like one we shouldn’t overthink.

Kevin Chappell v. Bill Haas (pick to win: Haas)

I think this is a much closer match than the one above as both players have advantages over the other and how they apply those will swing the result. Chappell is the longer of the two and straighter so he should have an easier time in getting off the tee but there are few on Tour that can outpace Haas on approach as he ranks 8th in greens hit thus far. With very similar putting and birdie numbers, one would expect a close comparison with scoring but Haas is currently 13th with Chappell at 96th. Haas is getting the better on the card as he is much less bogey-prone and I think that spells trouble for Chappell as his less than average scrambling will be his undoing here.

Good luck and good golf.

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