McGladrey Classic Betting Predictions
Date: October 23-26
Course: Seaside Course Sea Island, GA
TV: The Golf Channel
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Betting Handicapper, Predictem.com
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Alright, the new #1 rule of golf bettingis always get some action on the field bet during the early portion of the PGA Tour season.
Ben Martin claimed his first Tour victory last week at the Shriners, making him the 11th first time tournament winner in the last 44 PGA events. The field bet wouldnt have won all of those, but judicious use of that field bet option would certainly have returned a profit over the last year-plus. Martin is now exempt through the 2016-17 season, gets an invite to the Masters and is now eligible for the Tournament of Champions. Quite the week, I should say.
The PGA Tour is on to Georgia for the McGladrey Classic, here is everything you need to know.
The McGladrey Classic is a relative newcomer to the Tour, making its debut in 2010. The fall portion of the schedule isnt ideal for tournament as many of the big names dont get rolling for a few more weeks at least but there is a solid field heading to the Seaside Course this week. Chris Kirk returns as the defending champion and will get plenty of love as a club member.
Seaside is a shotmakers course that winds its way through plenty of marsh land and challenges players to negotiate seemingly endless rounds of bunkers and water hazards. The best wont have too much trouble as the 7,005 yard, par-70 track will give up birdies to well placed shots but those that arent in control of their shotmaking will find trouble. The winning total has routinely fallen in the 14 to 16-under range so players will need to find a way to make enough putts to stay relevant as the scoring pace should be quick again.
Bets to Win:
My picks for the Shriners were surely the worst I have offered in eight seasons of handicapping golf tournaments. Picks to win arent often easy but two missed cuts and a T72 for three picks is something my five year old could have done. Well, nowhere to go but up. Or sideways. Lets hope for up. Here are my picks for this week.
Chris Kirk (14 to 1)
Kirk will be making his season debut in a very familiar location and doing it as the defending champion. That can bring a lot of pressure but Chris is as steady as they come and certainly has edge in course knowledge. He finished last season with the 22ndbest putting average and was 5thin total birdies so he is capable of hanging in a shootout. 9th in scrambling suggests he has enough of the clutch gene to grind out pars even if he is a little off.
Russell Knox (33 to 1)
Knox is making his third start already and is coming off a strong 3rdlast week. That result could have been better but a final round 70 left him short of the leaders. Russell is hitting greens at a 73% clip through two weeks and averaging an obscene 5.13 birdies per round. That birdie total will even out eventually but it wont necessarily happen this week. Knox finished last season with top-25 marks in fairways, greens and scoring average.
Kevin Chappell (50 to 1)
Chappy had a rough start to his season, missing the cut at the Frys but I will give him a bit of a pass as he simply could not manage to make any putts. All the ballstriking and approach elements looked in good shape so you can dismiss the poor putting performance as a bit of a fluke. Kevin was one of the best statistical players last year, turning in the 6thbest overall driving stat, top-20 marks in birdies and ballstriking and ranked 28thin greens hit. Added up, his all-around stat qualified 8thand that is a good sign at a course that requires a bit of everything.
Stewart Cink (80 to 1)
Cink occupies my longshot to love seat this week as he fired a 64 to open play last week. He didnt do much after that but still hit 81.9% of his greens for the week. Cink made his Tour debut in 1995 so there isnt much that he hasnt seen and he understands the importance of the control game despite being longer than average off the tee. Stew finished last year in the top-60 in greens hit but was top-10 in GIR% in the 150-175 yard category and this course sets up to be approached from that range.
Other Bets to Consider:
Matt Kuchar (12 to 1)
If you are looking for a control player, you cant get much better than Kuchar and he makes sense as a favorite this week. Matt gave away a chance to win the opener with a final round 76 but he looks just as good as he did last year when he logged 11 top-10 finishes. Kuch finished the year a pretty unexciting 40thin greens hit but is no worse than 20thin fairways, putting, birdie average and scrambling. There are virtually no holes in his game.
Webb Simpson (12 to 1)
Simpson is off to a nice start after a T4 last week that continued a trend from last year that saw him play some of his best golf in a while. At his best, he is a virtual clone of Kuchar so if you like Matt, you almost have to like Webb here. Simpson was T7 here last year and brings top-30 ranks in birdies, scoring and all-around.
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Bill Haas (16 to 1)
Haas was the runner-up in the inaugural McGladrey Classic and enters the week riding a consecutive cuts made streak that stands at 15. Bill makes the most of his rounds, turning in the 22ndbest scoring average on just the 65thranked birdie average. He led the Tour in sand saves last year and is top-20 in ballstriking and greens hit.
Zach Johnson (18 to 1)
If you need a shotmaker, you are foolish to overlook Zach. He is almost always in the fairway and uses that accuracy to set up the easiest approaches. Johnson is another that nets a better scoring average than his birdie average would suggest so he doesnt often beat himself. There arent too many places at Seaside that require any real length so Zach loses nothing to the longer hitters. He ranks no worse than 40thin greens hit, scrambling, ballstriking and has the 25thbest overall stat sheet.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite golf sportsbook for single round matches and prop bets.
Given that the online betting sites line up the top-5 in a variety of head to head matches; I rank these players each week. For the McGladrey Classic, I see them breaking down this way.
1. Chris Kirk
2. Matt Kuchar
3. Webb Simpson
4. Zach Johnson
5. Bill Haas
Nick Watney v. Martin Laird (my pick to win: Watney)
Both are off to pretty good starts with Watney 16thlast week and Laird with two top-20 finishes in two weeks, including a T3 in the opener. I like Watney this week as he traditionally hits more fairways and greens than Laird and while neither is particularly good on the greens, Watney has an edge in scoring average going back to last season. Laird gets hot from time to time but often cools just as fast.
Brendon Todd v. Harris English (my pick to win: Todd)
Put this match on a different course and English might very well be the pick but Harris is outside the top-100 in fairways hit and that wont play well this week. Todd is the more accurate driver and is a top-10 putter on Tour. That putting helps him to 7thin scrambling with English outside the top-100 there. English has a better birdie average but these players are nearly identical in scoring average. When you are at a control course, take the guy that makes fewer mistakes.
I went 1-1 on the head to heads last week, correctly picking Charles Howell III over Carl Pettersson and losing the second leg when Brandt Snedeker got the best of Nick Watney by one stroke. I am 2-2 on the year.
Good luck and good golf!