A majority of PGA Tour events are a “Who’s Who” of talent when it comes to players teeing it up. For this week’s off-field Puerto Rico Open, it’s more of a “Who?” tournament.
While 46 of the world’s top 50 players are entered in this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, this is the perfect type of event for those who are looking to make a name for themselves with their first win on Tour.
Just ask Ryan Brehm. Again, you’re asking…who?
Well, Brehm won his first–and only–PGA Tour title right here last year. That earned him a two-year exemption on the Tour, so he’s teeing it up in this week’s Arnold Palmer event and won’t be back to defend.
That’s both the good and bad news. The good news is he’s now fully exempt on Tour, meaning he can set his schedule. The bad news is he’s played in 15 Tour events this year with just three made cuts. He did make the cut last week at The Honda Classic, so it’s a move in the right direction.
His best finish is a T-35 at the 2023 opening Tournament of Champions. He followed that up with a T-41 the next week on Oahu. Last week at the Honda Classic, he got back in the money with a T-14.
This tournament can certainly springboard players to brighter futures. Viktor Hovland won here in 2020 during his rookie season and has been in the spotlight on the big stage ever since. It’s the same with Tony Finau, who won in 2016 but took quite a bit longer than Hovland to find his way into prominence.
For guys like Brehm, it’s been a severe learning curve but one players are certainly happy to take on. In the end, it’s a showcase of those players with plenty of talent who are just looking for that one week where everything in their game clicks, and they get into the winner’s circle.
The betting favorite is Nate Lashley (“Who?”) at +1600. He’s followed by Ben Martin at +2000, and Brandon Harkins at +2200.
One thing is certain this week with the superstars of the golf world not being in the field: It’s going to be a big payday for bettors who can come up with a winner, no matter who it may be.
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Odds to Win the Puerto Rico Open
|Erik van Rooyen
As always, shop around the sports betting industry for the best odds on your plays.
Puerto Rico Open Expert Analysis: Look at a Live Longshot
Chances are you may never have heard of Brice Garnett, and why should you? He’s been a PGA Tour member since 2014, but has only one title to his name, the 2017 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.
He comes into this week at +5000, so he’s way down the betting board, but he probably shouldn’t be. Garnett started this wraparound season making four of five cuts with a best finish of T-21 at the Sony Open in January.
Since that stretch, he’s missed three straight cuts before making the cut last week and winding up T-55 at the Honda Classic. But, and here’s the bright spot, he’s coming to a place where he’s been in the hunt.
In fact, the last two years he has top-10 finishes, T-7 last year and T-5 two years ago. With the strength of field down, this may just be the spot for him to get back into the winner’s circle.
Check Out: 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational Odds & Picks
Here’s to Backing Another ‘Off-Field’ Winner
That would be Erik van Rooyen at +2500, and he’s tied for the fourth favorite this week. He won his only PGA Tour event at the 2020 Barracuda Championship, another off-field tournament, so he’s got an edge on most of this field, which is still hunting for that first victory.
Since then, he’s been middle-of-the-pack. His best finish this season is a T-6 at The American Express in late January. He’s 50-50 when it comes to playing the weekend with three cuts made, two missed cuts, and a WD.
The troubling part of this pick is this will be his first time playing in the Puerto Rico Open. That’s certainly not good news. He’s going to need to pick up a victory to get back to where he has full-exempt status, so the focus should certainly be front and center in his game-plan.
Van Rooyen’s coming off a bad outing at the Honda Classic, where he missed the cut by a wide, wide margin after a pair of 77s. But a T-50 at the WM Phoenix Open a few weeks ago shows he can handle the pressure of a fan-filled environment at the golf course.
Now can he handle the quiet, tranquil surroundings in Puerto Rico? That’s going to be the big question for his game as well as bettors’ money.
Around the Prop Scene
We’re only going to go with one prop this week. Take a look at the winner not being in the final group on Sunday.
It’s only coming in at +200, but this is a solid bet for one reason: A lot of these guys haven’t faced the kind of pressure being in that final group can bring.
If it’s a crowded leaderboard come Sunday, there’s a good chance a little doubt can creep into one or more of those looking to pick up a victory. If a player not in the final group puts up a number that the leaders can’t match, it’s going to add to the pressure.
An errant shot here or there can cost a player a victory, but can also put money in bettors’ pockets.