FAVOURITE backers have had a good time of it on the PGA Tour recently, with Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele coming out on top in the Zurich Classic, and Jo Rahm squeezing home against a sub-standard field in Mexico.
Rory McIlroy is strongly fancied to make it a hat-trick for the market leaders in this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, as a two-time winner of this event, and the defending champion.
The snag is that this year’s event has been switched from Quail Hollow – one of McIlroy’s favourite tracks – as the course will be hosting the President’s Cup later this year.
The fiddly, par 70 TPC Potomac course in Maryland is a very different animal, one that favours the shorter, straight hitter rather than the game’s power brokers.
That takes away McIlroy’s biggest weapon, and as he is a general 15-2, with 20-1 next best, the value may lie elsewhere.
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Tips for Wells Fargo Championship
Hot shot – Corey Conners, 20-1.
Conners’ last start saw him finish in a share of 12th in a similar test at Hilton Head, and although that may seem a bit disappointing at first sight, it was actually a decent effort.
The Canadian had to grind hard through all four rounds for his share of sixth place at the Masters, and it wasn’t too surprising to see those efforts take their toll the following week.
It was only a weary 72 in the second round that prevented him finishing a lot closer to Jordan Spieth, who looked a lot fresher after missing the cut at Augusta – and was obviously a man with something to prove.
Conners looked certain to win soon after finishing third in the World Match Play, and his Masters performance underlined that. This course will suit his strong tee-to-green game, and he looks like the man to be on.
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Mid price: Keegan Bradley, 33-1.
Bradley is another horses-for-courses fancy. He finished fifth when the Quicken Loans event was contested here a few years ago, and that local knowledge could prove invaluable.
The former USPGA champion is no has-been, and he looked to be regaining some of the old sparkle when he finished just outside the top ten at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Sure enough, he followed up with a fifth place finish at the Players Championship. Bradley was then eighth in Texas, before doing most of the damage alongside Brendan Steele when they finished fourth in the Zurich Classic.
Long shots: Adam Svensson, 150-1.
Svensson is a player I have been expecting to move up a notch since he won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour last year, to earn a place among the big boys on the main circuit.
He has not exactly been setting the world alight, but top tens in Hawaii and at the Honda Classic showed he can compete with the best, as well as boosting his confidence.
Svensson also posted rounds of 66 and 67 alongside a couple of poorer efforts at Hilton Head, which I’ve already mentioned, offers a similar test to this week. At these odds the Canadian is certainly worth a small interest.
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