Quicken Loans National Picks to Win
When: June 23-26, 2016
Where: Congressional CC (Blue) Bethesda, MD
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com
We are officially into the summer season and for the PGA, this time of year is the heart of the schedule. We are fresh off a tremendous U.S. Open and are just three weeks away from heading to Troon for the British Open so there is a lot going on. The countdown to the FedExCup and even the Ryder Cup is in full swing so most of the Tour players are in high motivation mode as they try to set themselves up for the end of the season. The PGA stays east this week for the Quicken Loans National. The event, hosted by Tiger Woods, is the last of the invitational tournaments and that makes for a strong field despite its date falling just one week after the second Major. This event has been known as the AT&T National in years past and is one of the few regular Tour stops to use a rotation of courses to host. This will be the 7th time that Congressional has held the event but 2015 took place at the Robert Trent Jones course with Aronimink also seeing action since 2007. Troy Merritt was able to win last season and he looks to become the third two-time winner of the Quicken Loans National as Tiger Woods and Justin Rose each have two victories.
The Blue Course at Congressional has plenty of history with the PGA and has been part of the Tour over 75 years. The Blue has hosted three U.S. Opens and one PGA Championship so she is no stranger to big time events. The course stands at par-72 for the members but plays at par-71 for the pros and will measure a hefty 7,569 yards for the championship. Winning scores here have ranged from 4-under par to 12-under so dont expect a ton of birdies from the field, although solid scores will be had as good shotmaking will solve the puzzle here. Look for the back nine to have a lot of say in the way things go as the stretch from #14 to #17 features four of the top-8 hardest holes and that should make for some good TV as the event comes to a close. There really isnt one specific method to tackle Congressional, rather players will need just about every shot in the bag at some point. Long drives help but accuracy is also needed to navigate the doglegs and set-up the right kind of birdie putts. No matter who has won this event, they all had tremendous weeks from tee-to-green and found those few key putts along the way.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best bets in the field. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at Topbet Sportsbook (Get a 50% bonus on your first deposit up to $250 FREE!) . We are going for two-in-a-row after successfully tabbing Dustin Johnson to win the Open, so here are our picks to win the 2016 Quicken Loans National.
Jim Furyk (20 to 1 odds to win)
I was a bit worried about Furyk heading into the Open as he hadnt shown that he was back in game shape off his wrist injury but nearly every doubt was erased after his performance at Oakmont. Furyk carded rounds of 68 and 66 on the way to a tie for second at 1-under and it appears he was simply waiting for a big event to really roll out a wall-to-wall effort. Despite not seeing the success until last week, he was still hitting nearly 70% of both fairways and greens, which is excellent, and it leads me to believe he is just a slim margin away from getting back to winning form on a week-to-week basis. His putting is likely as good as ever given the extra practice it got during rehab and it has showed as Furyk has made 87% of his putts from inside ten feet since his return. He could easily push for a Congressional win if he imports his efforts from last week.
Justin Thomas (25 to 1)
Thomas has made huge strides in becoming a regular contender on Tour this season. His CIMB win proved he could get it done but many thought he had the talent to hang with the best in the world given the right circumstances. His three third-place finishes show that he has the type of consistency that only a handful of players have and one of those thirds came at the Players so Thomas certainly isnt scared by the big stage. Justin should not have performed well at Oakmont based on his often crooked driver but he managed to keep it under control and work his way to a respectable T32. That isnt a tremendous result but it shows that he has the patience to take what the course is giving and the ability to avoid the big mistake. His length will come in handy at Congressional and I think he can retain that Open mentality to keep his driver in the fairway. He has a top-25 birdie average and birdie percentage on all holes so the scoring elements are there. He will continue to contend as he keeps the mistakes off the card.
Tony Finau (40 to 1)
If you arent familiar, Tony is a young power player like many on Tour today and he is susceptible to the missed cut just like many of them as well with eight trunk slams in twenty starts. What he has over the big crop of other guys is that he has a win after breaking through in Puerto Rico and he has shown he can manage his play much in the same way I described with Justin Thomas. Leading up to this week Finau was 12th at the Nelson, and 11th at the Memorial before missing the U.S. Open cut by one stroke. That is a solid run for longshot type of player and a pretty good trend to be riding as we head to a course that will seem quite a bit easier than what everyone saw at Oakmont. Finau is the longest driver on Tour in measured drives and he can simply bomb it. He uses that distance advantage to log a top-15 scoring average on the par-5s and the 31st most birdies overall. His third and fourth round scoring averages are both top-25 so doesnt shy from the finish and that is necessary to pull a win out from what should be a congested leaderboard come Sunday afternoon.
Picks to win based on predicted score for all four rounds. Check out 5Dimes Sportsbook for single round matches and prop bets.
Rickie Fowler v. Patrick Reed (pick to win: Fowler)
With the BMW event taking place overseas, this field becomes pretty US-heavy and these two are among the Americans expected to contend. Neither is happy with their performance at Oakmont so I would think both players would be eager to erase that memory. Fowler is developing a Ricky Bobby type habit of finishing really well or really poorly so you dont feel great about him week-to-week but he should have a good run at Congresssional and should get the better of Reed. Fowler has significant edges in greens hit and putting over Reed and those cannot be ignored here. Reed is the better scrambler and plays with a veteran moxie that is beyond his years but Fowler is the more talented shotmaker and routinely scores better. Unless he is simply awful again, Rickie gets the win here.
Ryan Palmer v. Gary Woodland (pick to win: Palmer)
Woodland is one of my favorite lesser knowns to play in head-to-heads as he often scores well simply by utilizing his massive drives. Problem is this week he is matched up against a player that is close to him in driver distance and owns the advantage in birdies and scoring. These players are pretty similar in terms of how they go about things but Palmer hits a few more fairways and makes a few more putts, hence the better scoring stats. Woodland is the better player around the greens I feel but neither is getting over on the field in that regard so keep this one about who scores better and that puts Palmer over the top.
Good luck and good golf!