Golf Picks: Quicken Loans National
June 28 - July 1, 2018 | TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm - Potomac, MD
The GOLF Channel/CBS
By: Evergreen of Predictem.com
There is just one quarter of the 2018 PGA Tour season left and what remains is essentially a mad dash to the FedExCup Playoffs. Two more Major Championships and a WGC event are on the horizon before we start pairing down to the Tour Championship but this week features the Quicken Loans National.
This is the defacto Tiger Woods Invitational and Woods himself headlines the field teeing it up at TPC Potomac. Rickie Fowler is also in attendance as is defending champion Kyle Stanley. The Tour’s rank-and-file will be looking to improve on their playoff points rank and a win also means entry into the British Open and PGA Championship for anyone not already exempt to those events. Tiger Woods will look to become a three-time champion of the tournament he established in 2007.
TPC Potomac is not new. The PGA Tour but debuted as host of the National just last year. The 7,107 yard, par-70 course received a near complete facelift just prior to hosting the Champions Tour in 2010 and two Web.com events were contested prior to the National moving here last season. Kyle Stanley defeated Charles Howell III on the first playoff hole after both tied at 7-under par. That score stands as the toughest par-70 not used in a Major last year and similar difficulty is predicted this time around. The greens are smaller than typical Tour courses and that typically extends the accuracy demand all the way back to the tee as hitting the small surfaces from the rough is all the more challenging. No player was able to break 70 all four days last season and the cut came at 4-over par. Players will be slightly more familiar this time around but Potomac is not a course that can be attacked indiscriminately. Patience is a key as is solid ball striking. A good recovery game is necessary as players should expect to miss a few more greens than normal this week. A hot putter is always a good thing to have but that may come in more handy when trying to save par than simply cashing in a boat load of birdies.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best values on the board. We correctly tabbed Bubba Watson to win the Travelers last week so let’s see if we can make it two wins in a row. We will make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at just about any golf betting outlet. Here are our picks to win the 2018 Quicken Loans National..
Howell narrowly missed his par saving putt on the playoff hole last season or perhaps he would have been the one returning as the defending champion. He logged rounds of 67 and 66 on the weekend for one of the more impressive back-to-back rounds of the tournament and his GIR rank of 27th fits right into how a player needs to play Potomac. Howell has not missed a cut since February and has notched 12 top-25 finishes already this season. His putting is slightly better than Tour average but he manages to sneak inside the top-35 in off-the-tee performance, tee-to-green rank and total strokes gained. Those three are all great predictors of how a player gains an advantage over the field without the putter. He adds a top-20 scrambling stat to a sheet that looks very well matched to this course. He should do just fine with his ball striking and he will contend again if the putter cooperates.
At just 23 years old, you might expect Hossler to be going through some ups and downs but he has missed justthree cuts all season with the last one coming in March. He has two 2nd place finishes in his first full time season and has top-10’s at the Sanderson and Shriners events which are very similar to the National in terms of field strength. He enters the week #1 on Tour in total birdies and he has more in the tank than just the ability to score. He is a solid 55th in greens hit and ranks 51st in scrambling which is a stat often dominated by players with more than a decade on Tour. He putts well beyond his years, currently ranking 17th and that has helped him survive the rough spots as he learns how to make it on Tour. I think he is a few years away from winning a bigtime event or a Major but winning an event like the National is more than doable.
This pick is all about his record at Potomac. During last year’s National, he jumped out to the lead after firing 65 on each of the first two days. He ultimately finished 5th after a final round 73 but that was not the first time he did well here. David won the Web.com Mid Atlantic event at TPC Potomac in 2012. He has struggled of late with four missed cuts in April and May but bounced back to net a top-20 finish last week. That is enough momentum for a guy that is returning to what may be his favorite course. He is 17th in fairways so he should be in the right spots to attack the greens and his putting average is respectable at 71st. He will need a big week to add a PGA Tour win to his Web.com win but unlike the stock market, past results are often a good indicator of future gain.
Picks to win based on predicted score for all four rounds. Check with your online sportsbook for single round pairings and a variety of prop bets.
Francesco Molinari v. Kyle Stanley (Pick to win: Stanley)
Stanley is the pick here but his win last year is more of a tie-breaker than anything. Molinari has been playing well and is one of the better ball strikers on Tour. More folks would know his name if he played a full schedule in the states and the only keeping him from winning big time events over here is his less than solid putting. These two have gone 1-1-1 against each other in the last three events where they both played but again, all three were close matches. Stanley has the accuracy numbers to go up against Molinari but certainly has the advantage on the greens, especially in converting birdies. Kyle could be in a lot of trouble if he is missing his approaches as he in not a top-tier scrambler but there is little evidence that he will not play well again this week. If Molinari putts well, he will be a tough out but it is hard to advocate for him when his opponent has a strong record at this course.
Chesson Hadley v. Patrick Rodgers (Pick to win: Rodgers)
Statistics are heavily used to make golf bets as there are just so many stats out there to tell the story. This match goes against that to some degree as the stats suggest Hadley is the pick but that hasn’t meant much against Rodgers as he has won the last three in a row against Hadley, including last week. Rodgers played pretty well en route to a T22 here last year so the non-stat trends are firmly on his side. Rodgers is the longer player but Hadley has the accuracy edge with both coming in around the same rank in off-the-tee performance and scrambling. Both putt well but that has led to more birdies for Hadley and while that is usually a key predictor, it hasn’t been leading to solid results in recent weeks. This should be a close match as both players look equally positioned to take on Potomac but I’d rather stay with Rodgers until those shiny stats of Hadley actually lead to better finishes.