OK, if you thought last week’s PGA Tour event was a challenge to handicap, you haven’t seen anything yet.
While the Valspar Championship had a field that included just 10 of the top 50 in the FedEx Cup points race, this week’s event has even less star power as there are no players ranked in the top 50.
The PGA Tour’s off-field event this week, the Corales Puntacana Championship, is being held in the Dominican Republic and has plenty of factors going against it when it comes to attracting a world-class field.
First is the fact it goes up against the WGC-Dell Match Play event, where there’s a $20 million purse.
Second is, well, the purse. At $3.8 million, the purse here is less than Scottie Scheffler pocketed for winning the Players Championship a few weeks ago. With the winner’s purse coming in at right around $700,000, it’s still a solid payday if you win.
That brings us to the third variable working against the event: the tournament’s positioning.
It comes a couple of weeks after huge events (the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship) as well as during this week’s invitation-only WGC Match Play event.
It’s also right before another big event and a gigantic event. The big event is next week’s Valero Texas Open, which many of the big names will play as the course uses a setup similar to the following week’s gigantic event: The Masters.
So, with all of that in mind, there is good news for this tournament, as it’s an ideal spot for those players who aren’t household names to get a chance to wind up in the winner’s circle.
Playing with the top players in the world adds to the pressure when you’re trying to find your way in the professional ranks. That won’t happen this week, as there will be plenty of Korn Ferry graduates, current Korn Ferry players and PGA Tour players who are just trying to hang on to their PGA Tour card.
It’s also a nice spot to gain a lot of confidence and start climbing that ladder to success on Tour. The last few winners are perfect examples. If you’re a fringe golf fan and bettor, chances are you may have heard of the last three winners.
Chad Ramey won a year ago with Joel Dahmen the winner in 2021. In 2020, it was Hudson Swafford.
Not exactly household names at the time, but all three have had a modicum of success following their wins. Ramey has six made cuts in 15 outings in this wraparound season, but is coming off a solid T-27 in the Players Championship. It’s one of his best finishes since last year’s victory.
Dahmen has played in 12 events this season with nine cuts made. He’s got three top-10 finishes.
Swafford has another victory since his win in 2020 (he has three overall PGA Tour wins) and has become a solid if not spectacular player.
That’s where we begin this week’s search for a winner in an event that may not have the big paydays or star-power field, but don’t count out drive and determination.
It’s going to be there for everyone in the 120-man field, and many feel this may be their best chance of the year to get into the winner’s circle.
Odds to Win Corales Puntacana Championship
|Tyrrell Hatton ||+1200|
|Si Woo Kim||+2000|
As always, shop around the sports betting industry for the best odds on your plays.
Take a Look at Who Wants To Be Here
The good news is it’s a PGA Tour event. That’s the bright spot.
It does offer one of the smallest purses on Tour (and the Tour will have purse totals that add up to some $563,000,000), so we’ll see how much drive these guys have when they get to the first tee.
This is one of those weeks where someone needs to come in and take control, and show the golf world they belong on the biggest stage.
Time for a Repeat Winner
In the short history of the event (which started in 2016 as an event on the Korn Ferry Tour), there hasn’t been a repeat winner.
It’s about time to change that as Chad Ramey, who won by a stroke last year, is slowly making his way up the ladder when it comes to getting comfortable on the PGA Tour.
At +4500, he’s down the odds list this year. That gives us a little more incentive to back the defending champ.
A final round 67 last year sealed the victory for him, but in the events he’s played since that win, he hasn’t been stellar. There have been glimpses of his ability over his last two events, though.
He followed up his T-27 at the recent Players Championship (impressive when you check out the strength of that field) with a T-27 at last week’s Valspar Championship.
Now, we hope it’s not a sign that he will finish T-27 this week after those two finishes because we feel his confidence at having won here a year ago will help him climb up the leaderboard again.
Back a Player That Came Close Last Year
Ben Martin, who has one PGA Tour win to his name after he won the Shriners event in Las Vegas in 2014, finished runnerup here last year.
A missed 10-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole cost the Korn Ferry Tour graduate a shot at a playoff. He’s +3000 this week, so he’s flying just a little under the radar.
Martin was T-9 in the event two years ago, so he’s comfortable with being on the first page of the leaderboard. He’s had four straight solid finishes including a T-5 at the Honda Classic and a T-13 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
His latest was a T-54 at the Players Championship, and a T-45 last week at the Valspar. Martin’s trending in the right direction and with his solid play here the last two years, it just might be time for victory No. 2 nine years later.
Around the Prop Scene
We’re only going to look at one prop bet in this off-field event: Bill Haas to finish in the top 20 at +500.
It’s easy to notice the fact Haas hasn’t been relevant in a long time. In fact, he was only T-44 here last year.
His most recent start produced a T-11 finish at another off-field tournament earlier this month, the Puerto Rico Open, so his game still shows signs of life.
His game’s not in a great place, but we feel Haas is in a good enough spot that he could crack the top 20.
Also read: Five Bets to Make (or not) on 2023 Majors | Longshots who can win Majors in 2023 | McIlroy, Rahm Lead Odds to Win 2023 Major
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