Thomas ready to win at WGC

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At first glance, picking a potential winner in WGC events looks easy. After all, these aren’t full-field events. In this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec, the field features 70 (give or take a few late qualifiers or those pulling out) of the best the PGA Tour has to offer.

But the problem becomes that there aren’t a lot of lower-ranked players you can automatically rule out when starting to whittle down the field. These events feature only the big guns. You know the names, you know the games.

With that in mind, we’re going to ride one of the streakiest players on Tour, Justin Thomas at 10-1.

The reasoning is simple. Thomas was second here in 2018 after losing in a playoff to Phil Mickelson. Thomas also won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational later in 2018 so he handles these star-studded events well.

And he’s been right there on Sunday in his last two Tour events. Final-round stumbles in both events proved costly. He posted a 75 at Genesis last week after leading by three heading into the final round. He wound up second to J.B. Holmes. Two weeks earlier he had a 72 in the finale at the Waste Management and finished third.

But we’re banking on him putting together four solid rounds this week. If he does that, it will give him a great shot at being in the winner’s circle with career victory No. 10.

There is an enigma this week. A defending champ at 30-1 odds is a little mindboggling. That defending champ being Mickelson makes him definitely worth a look.

We keep asking this: What do we do with Phil? He struggles and doesn’t make a cut and then rebounds with a victory. Then he struggles again in a damp Genesis event. But, we’re not giving up on him having a chance to defend his title. And if Mickelson wins, he’ll join elite company. It will give him four WGC titles. Only Dustin Johnson (five) and Tiger Woods (a head-shaking, jaw-dropping 18) have more.

Ah yes, Tiger. It’s just a matter of time before Woods (20-1) puts his whole game together for four rounds.

This could be the one.

He has had weeks where he was all-world making putts from everywhere but also hitting it everywhere on (and off) the course. Then there are weeks like this past one where his game is rock-solid but his putting goes away. He was as high as fifth on the leaderboard before fading with a final-round one-over-par 72 with four bogeys over his final 10 holes.

And if you’re looking for a long shot, check out Tyrrell Hatton at 60-1. He was 10th two years ago and moved up to third last year (one shot out of the playoff), so he’s moving in the right direction.

We have a bonus pick for the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club. Retief Goosen (40-1) is now making his new home mainly on the Champions Tour so he has got a couple of starts under his belt this year. Stepping back to the PGA Tour (or PGA Tour Lite in this instance) should give him plenty of motivation this week to challenge for a win. 

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About the Author
Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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